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BANK PANIC OF 1907: A relatively serious economic downturn, that is business-cycle contraction, in 1907 that was caused by serious, big-time, instability in the banking system. This major bank panic was so severe (the term depression is more applicable than recession) that it prompted Congress to establish the Federal Reserve System, which came into existence in 1913. See fractional-reserve banking.

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BUSINESS CYCLES: The recurring expansions and contractions of the national economy (usually measured by real gross domestic product). A complete cycle typically lasts from three to five years, but could last ten years or more. It is divided into four phases -- expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. Unemployment inevitably rises during contractions and inflation tends to worsen during expansions. To avoid the inflation and unemployment problems of business cycles, the federal government frequently undertakes various fiscal and monetary policies.

     See also | real gross domestic product | economy | full-employment production | resources | aggregate expenditures | contraction | recession | expansion | peak | trough | recovery | unemployment | inflation | fiscal policy | monetary policy | business cycle phases | circular flow | business cycle measurement | economic indicators |


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PRICE DISCRIMINATION

The act of selling the same good to different buyers for different prices that are not justified by different production costs. This is practiced by suppliers who have achieved some degree of market control, especially monopoly. Common examples of price discrimination are electricity rates, long-distance telephone charges, movie ticket prices, airplane ticket prices, and assorted child or senior citizen discounts. Price discrimination takes the form of one of three degrees: (1) first degree, in which each price is the maximum price that buyers are willing and able to pay, (2) second degree, in which price is based on the quantity sold, and (3) third degree, in which prices are based on an easily identifiable characteristic of the buyer.

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