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BOARD OF GOVERNORS, CHAIRMAN: The head of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve System. This is the guy in charge of monetary policy and is considered to be one of the two or three most powerful people in terms of the national and global economy. The Chairman is one of the seven members of the Board and serves as Chairman for a five-year term. The Fed Chairman also serves as Chairman of the powerful Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed Committee that sets the course of monetary policy.

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MONETARY POLICY: The Federal Reserve System's use of the money supply to stabilize the business cycle. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve System determines the total amount of money circulating around the economy. In principle, the Fed can use three different "tools"--open market operations, the discount rate, and reserve requirements--to manipulate the money supply. In practice, however, the primary tool employed is open market operations. To counter a recession, the Fed would undertake expansionary policy, also termed easy money. To reduce inflation, contractionary policy is the order of the day, and goes by the name tight money.

     See also | Federal Reserve System | money | business cycle | stabilization policies | central bank | open market operations | discount rate | reserve requirements | Federal Open Market Committee | tight money | easy money | fiscal policy | interest rate | inflation | unemployment | expansionary monetary policy | contractionary monetary policy |


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PERFECTLY ELASTIC

An elasticity alternative in which infinitesimally small changes in one variable (usually price) cause infinitely large changes in another variable (usually quantity). Quantity is infinitely responsive to price. Any change in price, no matter how small, triggers an infinite change in quantity. This characterization of elasticity is most important for the price elasticity of demand and the price elasticity of supply. Perfectly elastic is one of five elasticity alternatives. The other four are perfectly inelastic, relatively elastic, relatively inelastic, and unit elastic.

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