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ceteris paribus

Latin expression for "other things being equal." The term is used in economic analysis when the analyst wants to focus on explaining the effect of changes in one (independent) variable on changes in another (dependent) variable without having to worry about the possible offsetting effects of still other independent variables on the dependent variable under examination. For example, "an increase in the price of beef will result, ceteris paribus, in less beef being sold to consumers." [Putting aside the possibility that the prices of chicken, pork, fish and lamb simultaneously increased by even larger percentages, or that consumer incomes have also jumped sharply, or that CBS News has just announced that beef prevents AIDS, etc. -- an increase in the price of beef will result in less beef being sold to consumers.

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