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Glossary

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O

Oligopoly
A market structure in which a few, relatively large firms account for all or most of the production or sales of a good or service in a particular market, and where barriers to new firms entering the market are very high. Some oligopolies produce homogeneous products; others produce heterogeneous products.
Open Market Operations
The buying and selling of government bonds by the Federal Reserve to control bank reserves and the money supply; an important monetary policy tool. (See also Monetary policy.)
Operating Costs
The expenses of doing business.
Opportunity Cost
The next-best alternative a person gives up in making a choice.
Overdraft
A check written for more than the balance in one’s checking account; in colloquial terms, a check that bounces. The bank will mark such a check NSF, for “non-sufficient funds,” and will charge a penalty fee for the nuisance involved in handling a bounced check.