Terms Beginning With 'w'

Waterfall Concept

As the term suggests, waterfall concept is a sequential and linear approach. In terms of insurance, it refers to the life insurance wherein insurance holders roll their policy (a tax-exempt whole-life insurance policy) over to the next generation that could be either a child or a grandchild. The concept enables the holder to transfer the policy to a descendant without much tax concerns (at the time of the transfer). However, when the child/ grandchild decides to withdraw anything from the policy, they are required to pay taxes on the funds (at their own effective tax rate).

What is an Absolute Advantage? Absolute advantage is one of the key macroeconomic terms, which is based on the principles of Capitalism and is often utilised in international trade-related decisions. Absolute advantage refers to the competence of a company, region or country to produce goods or services in an efficient manner compared to any other economic entity. The efficiency in production can be achieved by: Production of the same quantity of good or services as produced by other entity by utilising fewer amount of resources Production of a higher quantity of good or services as produced by other entity by using the same amount of resources What is the Significance of Absolute Advantage? Different countries or businesses possess a different set of ability owing to their location, soil composition, weather, infrastructure, or human resource skills. When applied in the right direction, various factors may pan out to offer more cost-effectiveness and hence build absolute advantage of the entity in comparison to others.  The absolute advantage remains one of the critical determinants for the choice of the goods or services to be produced. Absolute advantage in a particular area often translates into profitability in the area. The profit margin increases by the achievement of cost efficiency, allowing the entity to ensure higher profitability over the competitors.  For example, let us assume that the US can produce ten high-quality aircrafts utilising a specific amount of resources. China, on the other hand, can build 6 similar quality aircrafts using the same amount of resources. Thus, in the production of an aircraft, the US holds Absolute Advantage Let’s say the US has the ability to manufacture a certain amount of steel using 10 tonnes of iron ore. China, on the other hand, can produce the same quantity of steel using 8 tonnes of iron ore.Here, China here holds Absolute Advantage in the production of steel.  How Countries Build Absolute Advantage? While natural conditions, which include climatic factors, geometry, topography, cannot be altered for achieving absolute advantage, the countries use the underlying factors strategically in their favour. Furthermore, factors of production are focused at by many companies or nations for building absolute advantages.  Some of the strategies for building absolute advantage includes: Development of Technological Competencies- The implementation of innovative or latest technological innovations allows the entities to lower their production cost, facilitating absolute advantage.  Enhancing Skills of Human Resources- The improvement in the cost-efficiency, along with the quality of the products, is targeted through imparting varying skill development programs. Many countries subsidize or aid the apprentice or labour training for enhancing the absolute advantage in trade.  Improving Infrastructure- The infrastructure enhancement in the form of road, telecommunications, ports, etc. can be useful in enhancing the cost-effectiveness across different industries.  What Do We Understand by Comparative Advantage Vs Absolute Advantage? Evaluating the comparative advantage introduces the concept of opportunity cost, which is the deciding factor to determine the production of particular goods or services. Opportunity cost refers to the potential benefits associated with the next best possible alternative which is missed out when one option is chosen over another.  The Absolute advantage simply considers the capability of a business or region to deliver goods or services in the most efficient manner. The Comparative Advantage, however, also takes into account the benefits that are forgone if an entity decides for production of a particular product or services.  Comparative advantage, based on the notion of mutual benefits, is often used in international trade deals. The Comparative advantage has been the major factor driving the outsourcing of services in search of cheap labour.  Understanding through an Example For instance, country A can produce ten televisions with the same amount of resources with which it can make 7 laptops. The opportunity cost per television is 7/10 or 0.7 laptops. Meanwhile, the opportunity cost per laptop is 10/7 or 1.42 television.  It highlights that country A is forsaking the production of 0.7 laptops if it is deciding to manufacture one television. On the other hand, it is missing out the opportunity to manufacture 1.42 televisions for every single laptop manufactured.  Now, say Country B’s opportunity cost for producing a television is 0.5 laptop, and that of producing laptop is 2 televisions. Then, country B will have a comparative advantage in making televisions, and country A will have comparative advantage in producing laptops. It has to be noted that despite country A having absolute advantages in both the products, it would be mutually beneficial for both the countries if country B produces television while country A produces laptops. Do You Know About Absolute Advantage Theory by Adam Smith? The concept of Absolute Advantage was indicated by Adam Smith in his book called ‘Wealth of Nations’ which focusses on International trade theory. Adam Smith, in his book attacked on the previous mercantilism theory, which mainly stressed for economies to maintain trade surplus in order to command power.  The Absolute Advantage theory considered that the countries possess different ability with respect to the production of varying goods or services. It argued that it is not necessary that a state may hold an absolute advantage in the production of all goods, and here the relevance of trade comes into play.  It advocates that countries should produce those goods over which they hold a competitive advantage. It would allow the countries to make the same amount of goods using few resources or in less time. The theory propagates the relevance of trade for economic sustainability.  What Are the Limitations of the Absolute Advantage Theory? The assumptions used in the Absolute Advantage Theory by Adam Smith may limit the application in real bilateral trade. The limitations of the theory by Adam Smith include: Smith assumed that the productive capabilities of a country could not be transferred between the two countries. However, in practical terms, the competitive scenario aids the nations to acquire new capabilities and acquire new resources, especially in the technological and human resource skill aspects.  The two-country trade which was used as a basis for the theory does not consider the trade barriers levied. The present scenario, however, is strikingly dominated by trade wars between economies. Nations impose huge tariffs, import duties and other type of barriers to promote local manufacturers.  Absolute Advantage theory assumes that the trade between the two nations will take place only if each of the two economies holds an absolute advantage in one of the commodities traded. However, in general, countries despite not holding absolute advantage are engrossed in international trade, boosting their economic setup.

Ability-to-Pay Taxation The neoteric trending concept in which the tax is levied as per the taxpayer’s economic ability to pay. It is based on the concept that a person who earns more should pay more taxes and the one earning less should pay less.  

This concept is basically a theory (hypothesis). It indicates that markets (when considered entirely) are ineffective in nature. It is believed to have an impact on the small caps at a much larger extent than on the large or mid-caps.

Defining Macroeconomics Macroeconomics is a branch of Economics that evaluates the functioning of an economy as a whole. It studies the performance and behaviour of key economic indicators such as economy’s output of goods and service, exchange rates, the growth of output, the rate of unemployment and inflation, and balance of payments.  Macroeconomics emphasises on the policies and economic behaviour that influence consumption and investment, exchange rates, trade balance, money flow, fiscal and monetary policy, interest rates, national debt, and factors influencing wages and prices.  The scope of the subject goes beyond microeconomic topics like the behaviour of individuals, firms, markets, and households.  History of Macroeconomics Macroeconomics originated with John Maynard Keynes post the great depression when the classical economist failed to explain the great economic fallout. Classical economics mostly comprised theories that studied pricing, distribution, and supply & demand. In 1936, John Maynard Keynes published – The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money – effectively changing the perception of how macroeconomic problems should be addressed. The theories of Keynes shifted to focus on aggregate demand from the aggregate supply.  Keynes said: ‘In the long run, we are all dead’. This statement was made to dismiss the notion that the economy would be in full employment in the long run. Later the theories developed by Keynes formed the basis for Keynesian economics, which gained popularity over other schools of thoughts including Neoclassical economics. Neoclassical economics emerged in the 1900s. It introduced imperfect competition models, which included marginal revenue curves, indifference curves. The theories in neoclassical economics argued about the efficient allocation of limited productive resource.  Neoclassical economists explain consumption, production, pricing of goods and services through supply and demand.  Some assumptions of this thought were an individual’s motive is to maximise utility as companies seek to maximise profits. Individuals make rational choices and act independently on perfect information.  Over the years, many new schools of thought in Macroeconomics have found footing in the economics world. These include monetarist theories, new classical economics, new Keynesian economics, and supply-side macroeconomics.  Difference between Macroeconomics and Microeconomics Major topics in Macroeconomics National income and output  The estimation of national income includes the value of goods and services produced by a country in a financial year domestically and internationally. National income essentially means the value of total output generated by an economy in a year.  National income can also be referred as national expenditure, national output or national dividend.  Financial systems Understanding financial systems is an important concept in macroeconomics. A financial market is a market for financial securities and commodities, including bonds, shares, precious metal, agriculture goods.  It is important for an economy to have markets where buyers and sellers can exchange goods. A financial market helps in the allocation of resources. Financial markets facilitate savings mobilisation, i.e. financial intermediaries channelise funds from savers to borrowers.  Investment remains on the agenda for policymakers to promote growth, and financial markets facilitate funds by allowing individuals to invest in bonds and stocks, which are issued by institutions seeking funds for investments.  Business cycles A Business cycle or an economic cycle refers to fluctuations in production, trade or economic activities. The upward and downward movement generally indicates the fluctuations in gross domestic product.  A business cycle has four different phases: expansion, peak, contraction, and trough. An expansion in an economy is when economic growth, employment, prices are rising. The peak is achieved when the economy is producing maximum output, inflation is visible, and employment levels are running high. After a peak, the economy enters into contraction, which leads to a fall in employment, depleting economic activity, and stabilisation in prices. At trough, the economy is at the bottom of the cycle, and the next phase of expansion starts after the trough.  Interest rates Macroeconomics also deals with interest rates in the economy. Interest rate policy of an economy is formulated and maintained by the central bank. A central bank manages the money supply in the economy.  The intervention by the central bank to propel economic growth is called monetary policy. The monetary policy of an economy seeks to maintain employment and inflation in the economy. The motive of the monetary policy is to achieve full employment and maintain stable prices. 

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