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FINANCIAL MARKET: A market that trades financial assets. Financial assets are the legal claims on the real assets in our economy and include such notable items as corporate stocks and bonds, government securities, and money. Without financial markets our economy would find it almost impossible to accumulate the funds needed for investment in big, expensive capital projects.

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PRIVATE SECTOR: A short-cut term that combines the households and businesses in the economy into a single group. This term should be contrasted directly with public sector, which is a comparable short-cut term for government. The distinction between private sector and public sector reflects the two basic methods of answering the three questions of allocation--markets and government. Markets make use of private ownership and control of resources (hence the term "private" sector) for voluntary allocation decisions.

     See also | household sector | business sector | public sector | government sector | three questions of allocation | ownership and control | liberal | conservative | government functions | market failure | fifth rule of imperfection | public choice | normative economics |


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MARGINAL FACTOR COST CURVE

A curve that graphically represents the relation between marginal factor cost incurred by a firm for hiring an input and the quantity of input employed. A profit-maximizing firm hires the quantity of input found at the intersection of the marginal factor cost curve and marginal revenue product curve. The marginal factor cost curve for a firm with no market control is horizontal. The marginal factor cost curve for a firm with market control is positively sloped and lies above the average factor cost curve.

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