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LABOR FORCE: The total number of people willing and able to exert mental and/or physical efforts in productive activities. In principle, this is everyone 16 years of age and over who is willing and able to work. In practice, it includes the sum of anyone over 16 years who is employed or unemployed but actively seeking a job. The labor force is essentially a more technical term for the economy's labor supply.

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QUOTA: A limit on the quantity of some sort of activity. Two of the more noted quotas are for employment and imports. Employment quotas have been used as a means of providing increased opportunities to blacks, hispanics, women, and other groups that have been historically subject to discrimination. Such quotas, however, tend to anger other groups, especially white males, who don't get favorable treatment. While employment or similar anti-discrimination quota systems might help address historical problems, they are not without cost. In particular, our economy's efficiency is likely to suffer if a less qualified member of an ethnic group is selected over someone who is more qualified. Import quotas have similar problems. They are one form of trade barriers that's usually intended to reduce the competition faced by a domestic producer.

     See also | employment | import | discrimination | opportunity cost | efficiency | nontariff barrier | competition | market control | price |


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PERFECT COMPETITION

An ideal market structure characterized by a large number of small firms, identical products sold by all firms, freedom of entry into and exit out of the industry, and perfect knowledge of prices and technology. This is one of four basic market structures. The other three are monopoly, oligopoly, and monopolistic competition. Perfect competition is an idealized market structure that is not observed in the real world. While unrealistic, it does provide an excellent benchmark that can be used to analyze real world market structures. In particular, perfect competition efficiently allocates resources.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time at a going out of business sale wanting to buy either a set of luggage with wheels or a birthday gift for your aunt. Be on the lookout for telephone calls from former employers.
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The first paper notes printed in the United States were in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents.
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