Search Council for Economic Education's full glossary for terms and definitions


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Deadweight Loss


Debit Card

A small, specially coded plastic card issued by a bank; allows the cardholder to transfer funds electronically and immediately from his or her checking account, as if the cardholder were writing a check to pay for a purchase.


Money owed to someone else. Also the state or condition of owing money. Can be individual, corporate or government debt.

Debt financing

Debt for Individual

Deceptive Practices

Misleading methods used by businesses to sell goods or services. Examples include misleading prices, bait-and-switch tactics and false advertising.


Decision Making

Reaching a conclusion after considering alternatives and their results.

Decision-Making Grid

A graph-like form into which people may enter notations about the costs and benefits of various alternatives; used for assistance in making decisions.


Regarding insurance policies: A set amount an insured person must pay per loss before the insurance company will pay a claim.

Definition of Money


A sustained decrease in the average price level of all the goods and services produced in the economy.


The quantity of a good or service that buyers are willing and able to buy at all possible prices during a period of time.

Demand Deposit

An account from which funds may be withdrawn by writing a check at any time and without having to obtain the approval of the financial institution in advance.

Demand-Pull Inflation

Inflation caused by increasing demand for output or "too much money chasing too few goods."


Money put into a financial account. Also, to place money in a financial account.


A reduction in the value of capital goods over time due to their use in production.

Depreciation of a Currency

Depreciation of Currency

A decline in the price of one currency relative to another.


A severe, prolonged economic contraction.

Derived Demand

Demand resulting from what a good or service can produce, not demand for the good or service itself.

Determinants of Demand

Factors other than the price of a good or service that change (shift) the demand schedule, causing consumers to buy more or less at every price. Factors include income, number of consumers, preferences and prices of related goods.

Determinants of Supply

Factors other than the price of a good or service that change (shift) the supply schedule, causing producers to supply more or less at every price. Factors include number of producers, production costs, and technology and productivity.

Diminishing Marginal Utility

Direct Deposit

The electronic transfer of a payment (for a month's salary, for example) directly from the payer's account to the recipient's account.

Direct Relationship

The relationship that exists when the values of related variables move in the same direction. Also known as a positive relationship.

Discount broker

Discount Rate

The interest rate the Federal Reserve charges commercial banks for loans.

Discouraged Workers

Unemployed people who have given up looking for work and are therefore not counted as part of the labor force.


A factor, often a monetary policy or disadvantage, that discourages people from doing something.

Disposable Income

The amount of money a person has left to save or spend after income taxes, Social Security taxes and other required deductions have been taken out of his or her pay.


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.



To invest in a variety of stocks, bonds, money market accounts, etc., in order to spread risk.


A share of a company's net profits paid to stockholders.

Dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)

Division of Labor

An arrangement in which workers perform only one step or a few steps in a larger production process (as when working on an assembly line).


Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)

Durable Goods

Goods intended to last for a period of more than three years.