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OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS: The Federal Reserve System's buying and selling of government securities in an effort to alter bank reserves and subsequently the nation's money supply. These actions, under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee, are the Fed's number one, most effective, most often used tool of monetary policy. If, for example, the Fed wants to increase the money supply (termed easy money) it buy's government securities. If the Fed chooses to reduce the money supply (called tight money) it sells some government securities.

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MARGINAL COST AND MARGINAL PRODUCT: Because variable cost is largely associated with the cost of employing a variable input in the short run, it's possible to identify a connection between the marginal cost curve and the marginal product curve. In particular, the quantity of output in which marginal cost is at a minimum, is the same quantity of output produced by the variable input when the marginal product of the variable input is at a maximum. In addition, over the range of production in which the variable input experiences increasing marginal returns and marginal product increases, the marginal cost curve declines. And over the range of production in which the variable input experiences decreasing marginal returns brought on by the law of diminishing marginal returns and marginal product increases, the marginal cost curve is rising.

     See also | marginal cost | marginal product | law of diminishing marginal returns | variable input | variable cost | fixed input | fixed cost | marginal cost curve | marginal product curve |


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DISINFLATION

A decline in the inflation rate. With disinflation, prices continue rising, just not as fast. Numerically speaking, disinflation occurs if the inflation rate over three consecutive years is 10 percent, 6 percent this year, and 4 percent. Disinflation, a reduction in the inflation rate, is not the same as deflation, which is an actual decline in the price level. Should disinflation continue, presumably due to anti-inflationary monetary or fiscal policies, then the average price level might eventually decline, making the transition from disinflation to deflation.

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