Glossary Terms:

The American Standard of Living - For Better or For Worse

Glossary terms from:


A financial institution that provides various products and services to its customers, including checking and savings accounts, loans and currency exchange.


Spending by households on goods and services. The process of buying and using goods and services.


A legal entity owned by shareholders whose liability for the firm's losses is limited to the value of the stock they own.


The allocation or dividing up of the goods and services a society produces.

Distribution of Income

The way in which the nation's income is divided among families, individuals or other designated groups.

Economic Growth

An increase in real output as measured by real GDP or per capita real GDP.

Federal Reserve

The central bank of the United States. Its main function is controlling the money supply through monetary policy. The Federal Reserve System divides the country into 12 districts, each with its own Federal Reserve bank. Each district bank is directed by its nine-person board of directors. The Board of Governors, which is made up of seven members appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to 14-year terms, directs the nation's monetary policy and the overall activities of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Open Market Committee is the official policy-making body; it is made up of the members of the Board of Governors and five of the district bank presidents.


Tangible objects that satisfy economic wants.


Accommodation in houses, apartments, etc.


Payments earned by households for selling or renting their productive resources. May include salaries, wages, interest and dividends.


The quantity and quality of human effort available to produce goods and services.


Places, institutions or technological arrangements where or by means of which goods or services are exchanged. Also, the set of all sale and purchase transactions that affect the price of some good or service.


Activities performed by people, firms or government agencies to satisfy economic wants.

Standard of Living

The level of subsistence of a nation, social class or individual with reference to the adequacy of necessities and comforts of daily life.


Payments for labor services that are directly tied to time worked, or to the number of units of output produced.


Effort applied to achieve a purpose or result, often for pay; skills and knowledge put to use to get something done; employment at a job or in a position; occupation, profession, business, trade, craft, etc.


People employed to do work, producing goods and services.