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An Economics Word List for Japanese Learners


An elusive goal for Japanese university students is ability to communicate about their majors in English. To do so, beyond the basic vocabulary of communication and general academics, learners must master the relevant technical vocabulary. I have assembled an Economics Word List (EWL) for economics majors using a glossary-based approach. Three diverse glossaries from prominent sources were examined: The Economist magazine, Mankiw's (2001) Principles of Economics, and Stiglitz' (1997) Economics. It was found that lexical borrowing in Japanese economics resulted in few cognates. Moreover, the abstract nature of economics and its competing theories likely contributed to great variation among the glossaries and an inflated lexicon of terminology; this was dealt with by having an economics specialist delete terms felt non-essential. To further enhance the EWL, the 891 terms were divided into sublists: 70 terms overlapping in all three glossaries; 163 terms overlapping in two; 67 polysemic terms with additional high-frequency meanings; 80 terms that were cognates; and the 511 remaining terms. While the first four sublists warrant classroom attention, this is not necessarily true of the fifth.

Sublist-1 (Terms overlapping in three glossaries; 70 items) absolute advantage; appreciation; capital; cartel; central bank; closed economy; Coarse’s theorem; comparative advantage; consumer surplus; crowding out; deadweight cost/loss; demand curve; depreciation; diminishing returns; discount rate; economics; efficiency wages; elasticity (relative elasticity); exports; externality; factors of production; Federal Reserve (System / banks); financial intermediary; financial system; fixed costs; free riding (rider); frictional unemployment; horizontal equity; human capital; imports; income effect; indexation; indifference curve; inferior goods; inflation; investment; liquidity; macroeconomics; market failure; market power; menu costs; microeconomics; monetary policy; money; monopoly; natural monopoly; natural rate of unemployment; normal goods; oligopoly; open economy; open-market operations; opportunity cost; permanent income (hypothesis); price discrimination; Phillips curve; production function; productivity; progressive tax(ation); profit; public goods; scarcity; stagflation; stocks; structural unemployment; substitution effect; sunk costs; supply curve; transaction costs; variable costs; vertical equity

Sublist-2 (Terms overlapping in two glossaries; 163 items) adverse selection; aggregate-demand curve; aggregate-supply (curve); antitrust (laws / policy); arbitrage; assets; asymmetric information; automatic stabilizers; average tax rate; average variable cost; barriers to entry (or exit); barter; bonds; boom and bust; budgetal constraint; business cycle; capital flight; capital gains; capital markets; catch-up effect; ceteris paribus; classical dichotomy; collusion; compensating (wage) differential; Communism; complements; constant returns to scale; consumer price index (CPI); consumption; contestable market(s); cost-benefit analysis; cyclical unemployment; debt; deficit (fiscal deficit); deflation; demand deposits; depression; deregulation; devaluation; discouraged workers; diseconomies of scale; diversification; dividend(s); division of labo(u)r; dumping; econometrics; economic rent; economies of scale; efficiency; efficient market hypothesis (theory); equilibrium; equity; exchange rate; expected returns; fiat money; financial markets; fiscal policy; game theory; GDP; GDP deflator; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; general equilibrium; Giffen goods; gift and estate tax; Gini coefficient; GNP; gross national product (GDP); horizontal integration; imperfect competition; income elasticity of demand; inflation tax; infrastructure; interest; job search; labor-force participation rate; law of supply and demand; life-cycle (hypothesis); lump-sum tax; marginal cost; marginal product; marginal rate of substitution; marginal revenue; marginal tax rate; market(s); market economy; medium of exchange; mixed economy; monetary neutrality; money multiplier; money supply; monopolistic competition; moral hazard; multiplier; mutual fund; Nash equilibrium; negative income tax; nominal GDP; nominal interest rate; normative economics; Okun's law; Pareto efficiency; patents; perfect competition; physical capital; positive economics; predatory pricing; price ceiling; price elasticity of demand; price elasticity of supply; price floor; principal-agent theory (problem); prisoners' dilemma; privatization; producer price index; producer surplus; property rights; protectionism; purchasing power parity (PPP); quantity theory of money; quota; random walk; rational expectations; real balance effect; real exchange rate; real interest rate; recession; regressive tax; rent; rent-seeking; reservation wage; reserve requirements; restrictive practice; risk premium; shadow price; shortage; signalling; simple interest; social benefits/costs; Socialism; sticky prices; strike; store of value; substitute goods (substitutes); supply shock; surplus; tariff; tax incidence; total cost; trade deficit/surplus; tragedy of the commons; treasury bills; trough; trust; unemployment rate; unit of account; utility; value added; value of marginal product (of labor); vertical integration; voluntary unemployment; welfare; welfare economics; World Trade Organization (WTO)

Sublist-3 (Terms with loanword equivalents in Japanese; 80 items)animal spirits; balance sheet; black market; Bretton Woods; bubble; capital loss; corporate finances; cost-push inflation; credit crunch; crony capitalism; currency board; demand-pull inflation; disinflation; disintermediation; due process; emerging markets; Euro; Euro Zone; Eurodollar; fair trade; fine tuning; fiscal drag; forward contracts; free lunch; free-market economics; gearing; globalization; hedge; hedge funds; hot money; indexed funds; inflationary spiral; inflation target; innovation; inputs; insider trading; J-curve; junk bonds; Keynesian; lags; laissez-faire; leverage; leveraged buy-out (LBO); market risks; median; monetarism; monetarists; money markets; new economy; offshore; outsourcing; overshooting; portfolio; premium; price leader; price takers; principal-agent problem; reflation; rescheduling; risk; risk management; search costs; securitization; Seignorage; spot price; stagnation; stakeholders; stock option; supply-side policies; supply siders; sustainable development; systematic risk; systemic risk; takeover; tax haven; venture capital; winner-takes-all markets; work sharing; yield curve; yield gap

Sublist-4 (Polysemes with high-frequency meanings; 67 items) accelerator; auctions; bank; bear breach; budget; bull; capacity; centralization; commodity; competition; competitiveness; concentration; corporation; cost; credit; creditor; currency; demand; derivatives; discount; enterprise; expectations; firms; flows; forecasting; futures; income; inequality; insurance; intervention; luxuries; marginal; maturity; mean; model; neutrality; option; output; partnership; peak; population; preference; price; principal; rationality; regulation; reputation; reserve; returns; revenues; savings; screening; search; securities; services; shares; shock; slope; speculation; stabilization; supply; transfers; uncertainty; unemployment; variable; wages; yield

Sublist-5 (Remaining words; 511 items) ability-to-pay principle; agency costs; aggregate consumption function; aggregate expenditures schedule; aggregate savings; aggregate savings rate; altruism; Asian crisis; assistance in kind; autonomous consumption; autarky ; average costs; average fixed cost; average productivity; average revenue; average total cost; balance of payments; balanced budget; balanced budget multiplier; balanced trade; bank run; bankruptcy; beggar-thy-neighbor policies; benefits principle; bequest savings motive; Bertrand competition; bilateral trade; budget deficit; budget surplus; buyer's market; capital adequacy ratio; capital goods; capital goods investment; capital goods markets; capital inflow; capital intensive; capital outflows; capital requirements; capital structure; Capitalism; causation; centrally planned economy; central planning; certificate of deposit (CD); circular flow; classical economics; classical unemployment; collateral; command economy; commercial policies; commodity money; common goods; Common Market; common resources; competitive advantage ; competitive equilibrium price; competitive market; competitive model; complementary goods; compound interest; comparative worth; compound interest; consumer confidence; consumer prices; consumer protection legislation; consumption function; contingency clauses; corporate income tax; correlation; cost of capital; countervailing duties; coupon rationing; Cournot competition; creative destruction; credit creation; credit rationing; cross-price elasticity of demand; cross subsidization; currency peg; current account; debt-equity ratio; decentralization; default; deficit spending; demand constrained equilibrium; demand schedule; demand shocks; deposit insurance; depreciation allowance; developed or industrialized countries; developing countries; development economics; diminishing marginal products; diminishing marginal rates of substitution; diminishing marginal rates of technical substitution; diminishing marginal utility; direct taxation; discounted cashflow; discretionary expenditures; disequilibrium; disposable income; dollarization; dominant firm; dominant strategy; double coincidence of wants; downward rigidity of wages; duel economy; duopoly; durable goods; dynamically efficient; dynamic consistency; ECB; economic and monetary union; economic indicator; economic man; economic profit; economic sanctions; economies of scope; effective exchange rate; efficiency wage theory; efficient scale; endogenous; Engel's law; entrepreneur; environmental economics; equilibrium price; equilibrium quantity; European Central Bank; European Union; excess or free reserves; excess returns; excess supply; exchange controls; exchange efficiency; excise tax; excludability; exclusive dealing; exogenous; exogenous shocks; expectations-augmented Phillips curve; expenditure tax; export credit; export-led growth; factor cost; factor demand; federal debt; Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC); Federal Reserve Board (Fed); final goods approach to measuring GDP; financial instrument; financial investments; first-mover advantage; fiscal deficit; fiscal neutrality; fiscal stimulus; Fisher effect; fixed exchange rate system; fixed (or overhead) inputs; flexible or floating exchange rate system; flotation; flow statistics; foreign direct investment; fractional-reserve banking; fractional reserve system; free trade; full employment; full employment deficit; full employment level of output; G7, G8, G10; gains from trade; GATT; GDP per capita; general equilibrium analysis; global public goods; gni; gold standard; golden rule; government bonds; government debt; government expenditure; government purchases; government revenue; Gresham's law; gross domestic product; highly leveraged; homo economicus; horizontal merger; hostile takeover; hyper-inflation; hypothecation; IMF; imperfect information; imperfect markets; imperfect substitutes; implicit contract; implicit costs; import function; import quota; import substitution; incentive-equality trade-off; income approach to measuring GDP; income-expenditure analysis; income tax; increasing returns; increasing constant, or diminishing returns to scale; incumbent advantage; index numbers; indirect taxation; individual income tax; industrial policies; inelastic; infant industry argument for protection; infinite elasticity of demand; infinite elasticity of supply; inflation inertia; inflation rate; in-kind transfers; insider traders; institutional investors; intangible assets; intellectual property; interest elasticity of savings; interest rate; interest rate effect; internalizing an externality; International Monetary Fund; international trade; intertemporal trades; investment function; investment schedule; invisible hand; involuntary unemployment; isocost; isoquants; job discrimination; joint products; joint supply; Keynes, John Maynard; Keynesian unemployment; kinked demand curve; Kondratieff wave; labor force; labo(u)r intensive; labor market; labo(u)r market flexibility; labor turnover rate; Laffer curve; lagging indicators; land tax; law of demand; law of supply; leading indicators; learning by doing; lender of last resort; less developed countries (LDCs); liabilities; life-cycle savings motive; life-cycle theory of savings; limited liability; local public goods; long-run aggregate supply curve; long-term bonds; Lorenz curve; luxury tax; MI, M2, M3; macroeconomic policy; marginal benefit; marginal changes; marginal costs and benefits; marginal product of labor; marginal propensity to consume; marginal propensity to import; marginal propensity to save; marginal rate of technical substitution; marginal rate of transformation; marginal utility; market clearing; market demand; market demand curve; market forces; market labor supply curve; market of loanable funds; marketplace; market supply; maximum criterion; median voter; mergers and acquisitions; merit goods and bads; minimum wage; model of aggregate demand and aggregate supply; Modigiani-Miller theorem; monetary aggregates; money illusion; monopolist; monopoly rents; monopsony; most-favo(u)red nation; multi-lateral trade; multiplier-accelerator model; multiplier effect; myopic expectations; NAFTA; national debt; national income; national saving (saving); nationalization; natural endowments; negative public savings; neo-classical economics; net capital inflows; net domestic product (NDP); net exports; net export function; net exports; net foreign investment; net present value (NPV); network effect; neutrality of money; new classical economists; new growth theory; new Keynesian economists; newly industrialized countries (NICs); NGO; nominal exchange rate; non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU); non-excludability; non-price competition; non-religious; non-tariff barriers; normative statements; North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); OECD; OPEC; opportunity sets; optimal currency area; optimum; output gap; output per capita; outward investment; overhead costs; over the counter; partial equilibrium analysis; paternalism; perfect complements; perfect information; perfectly elastic; perfectly inelastic; perfectly mobile capital; perfect substitutes; piece-rate system; Pigou effect; Pigovian tax; planned economy; planned and unplanned inventories; Plaza Accord; policy ineffectiveness proposition; positive statements; potential competition; potential GDP; precautionary savings motive; present discounted value; present value; price index; price makers; price mechanism; price regulation; price/earnings ratio; price system; principle of consumer sovereignty; principle of substitution; private goods; private savings; Prisoner’s Dilemma; private marginal cost; private property; producer prices; product differentiation; production function; production possibilities curve; production possibilities frontier; productivity wage differential; product liability; profit margin; profit maximization; propensity; property tax; proportional tax; proprietorship; public saving; public spending; public utility; public-private; pure profit or monopoly rents; pure public good; Q theory; queueing; rate of return; ratings; rational choice; rationing; rationing by queues; reaction function; real business-cycle theorists; real GDP; real income; real product wage; real terms; real wage; reciprocity; regression analysis; regulatory capture; relative income hypothesis; relative price; rent control; required return; resale price maintenance; reserve ratio; residual; residual risk; retained earnings; revealed preference; revenue curve; Ricardian equivalence; risk averse; risk adverse, risk loving, risk neutral; risk neutral; risk-free rate; sacrifice ratio; safe harbo(u)r; sales tax; Say's law; seasonally adjusted; seasonal unemployment; secondary market; seller's market; seniority; shareholder value; shoeleather costs; short-run aggregate supply curve; short-run production function; short-term bonds; Smith’s “invisible hand”; smoothing consumption; social capital; social insurance; social market; social marginal costs; social science; soft budget constraints; sovereign risk; speculative motive; stagflation; standard deviation; static expectations; statistical significance; sterilized intervention; sticky wages; Stochastic process; strategic trade theory; subsidy; supply schedule; surplus labor; sustainable growth; tacit collusion; tangible assets; target savings motive; tax avoidance; tax burden; tax evasion; tax expenditures; tax-favored assets; taxation; technical progress; terms of trade; theory of liquidity preference; thin markets; tie-ins; tiger economies; time constraints; time value of money; time series; total factor productivity analysis; total return; total revenue; trade balance; trade-offs; trade policy; trading blocs; traditional monetary theory; transactions demand for money; transition economies; transplants; underground economy; unemployment insurance; unitary price elasticity; utility possibilities curve; value-added approach to measuring national output; variable inputs; velocity of circulation; velocity of money; vertical merger; volatility; voluntary export restraints (VERs); voting paradox; wage discrimination; wealth effect; wholesale price index; willingness to pay; withholding tax; World Bank; world price