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INFLEXIBLE PRICES: The proposition that some prices adjust slowly in response to market shortages or surpluses. This condition is most important for macroeconomic activity in the short run and short-run aggregate market analysis. In particular, inflexible (also termed rigid or sticky) prices are a key reason underlying the positive slope of the short-run aggregate supply curve. Prices tend to be the most inflexible in resource markets, especially labor markets, and the least inflexible in financial markets, with product markets falling somewhere in between.

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FISCAL POLICY: Use of the federal government's powers of spending and taxation to stabilize the business cycle. If the economy is mired in a recession, then the appropriate fiscal policy is to increase spending or reduce taxes--termed expansionary policy. During periods of high inflation, the opposite actions are needed--contractionary policy. The consequences of fiscal policy are typically observed in terms of the federal deficit.

     See also | government sector | stabilization policies | government purchases | taxes | transfer payments | federal deficit | full-employment budget | business cycle | recession | contraction | expansion | unemployment | inflation | crowding out | expansionary fiscal policy | contractionary fiscal policy | automatic stabilizer | monetary policy | recessionary gap | inflationary gap |


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RESERVE REQUIREMENTS

Rules established and enforced by the Federal Reserve System governing the amount of reserves (vault cash and Federal Reserve deposits) that banks must keep to back up their deposits. Reserve requirements help to maintain a stable banking system and ensure that banks are able to conduct day-to-day check-clearing and cash-withdrawal transactions. These requirements are also one of the three monetary policy tools that the Fed can use, in principle, to control the money supply. The other two are open market operations and the discount rate.

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