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


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W-2 Form

A federal income tax document that employers complete and send to their employees and to the Internal Revenue Service at the end of a year; shows employee compensation and taxes withheld.

W-4 Form

A federal income tax document that instructs an employer about how much money to withhold from an employee's paycheck for tax purposes.


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


Desires that can be satisfied by consuming or using a good or service. Economists do not differentiate between wants and needs.


The removal of money by a depositor from a financial account.


Money taken out of an employee's paycheck and sent to the government and credited to the employee's tax bill.


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.

Work Ethic

A system of values in which central importance is ascribed to work and to qualities of character believed to be promoted by work; a sense of responsibility for doing a job well.

Work Skills

Ability to do things demanded in particular jobs.


People employed to do work, producing goods and services.

World Bank

An international organization that makes loans and provides technical expertise to developing nations.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

A trade agreement among over 100 nations that specifies the level of tariffs among the signatories and attempts to resolve trade disputes.