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DEFLATION: An extended decline in the average level of prices. This is the exact opposite of inflation--in which prices are rising over an extended period, and it should be contrasted with disinflation--which is a decline in the inflation rate. Like inflation, deflation occurs when the AVERAGE price level decreases over time. While some prices might decrease, other prices could increase or remain unchanged, so long as the AVERAGE follows a downward trend. Deflation is a rare bird indeed in our economy and typically happens only when we're in a prolonged period of stagnation. We might see some deflation during a fairly lengthy recession, but more than likely deflation saves itself for the occasional depression that dots our economic landscape.

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ECONOMIC GOALS: The five basic conditions of the mixed economy that are generally desired by society. We typically divide these five into macro goals (full employment, stability and economic growth) and micro goals (efficiency and equity).

     See also | mixed economy | macro goals | full employment | stability | economic growth | micro goals | efficiency | equity | inflation | unemployment | income distribution | government | three questions of allocation | normative economics |


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INSTITUTION

An established method or way of performing an activity that is widely accepted throughout society. Institutions provide the rules, guidelines, and structure needed to carry out day-to-day economic activities, such as production, consumption, and exchange.

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