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The Ins and Ins of Economics

I’ve noticed a weirdly large number of econ terms start with the prefix in-, and thought that could make for a fun post. This is a brief, hopefully interesting, likely incorrect, and woefully incomplete survey of those terms.


Payment given in a form other than cash


The thing that explains, like, 99% of economic agents’ behavior


The collective amount of payments you’ve received from others for pretty much any reason. Usually given with reference to some amount of time, e.g. “I made $X this year”


A small change or improvement in some economic process (contrasted with inventions or innovations). Also refers to marginal cost, the cost per additional unit sold, but I’ve usually seen “marginal” instead of “incremental” for that


A really general notion of a thing at one reference time that you can compare to at another time. Also index funds, which track a whole market vs. just one stock. Also refers to the consumer price index, calculated from a “basket of goods”.


Let’s say you get exactly the same utility from X dollars and Y goods, or W dollars and Z goods. You’re indifferent to the two options. We can plot the curve of such points, and call it the indifference curve.


Businesses that produce goods. Sometimes just used to mean “manufacturing”. Also an important part of “Industrial Revolution”.


The difference in the amounts of something held by different parties. Often referred to in the phrase “income inequality”. Measured with the Gini coefficient.


Growth in price levels over time. Only really makes sense in macro. Some is usually taken to be good, hyper- is usually taken to be bad.


Not sure how this is different from power.


The process of invention but also dissemination of the newly invented products/ideas. Usually higher levels lead to more economic growth.


What you are if you have more liabilities than you can pay for with your assets. Greece was famously this recently.


Fairly intuitive, but tracks with things like high levels of uncertainty, high variance in money supply, can lead to recessions etc.


The coolest way I heard this explained was that you’re shifting your buying power around in time, and need to pay interest/get to collect interest for doing so.


Making something new!


A stockpile of goods, or just a stockpile of materials that could become goods.


Buying capital goods.