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Mixed economy

A mixed economy is defined as an economic system consisting of a mixture of either markets and economic planning, public ownership and private ownership, or markets and economic interventionism. However, in most cases, "mixed economy" refers to market economies with strong regulatory oversight and governmental provision of public goods, although some mixed economies also feature a number of state-run enterprises.

In general the mixed economy is characterised by the private ownership of the means of production, the dominance of markets for economic coordination, with profit-seeking enterprise and the accumulation of capital remaining the fundamental driving force behind economic activity. But unlike a free-market economy, the government would wield indirect macroeconomic influence over the economy through fiscal and monetary policies designed to counteract economic downturns and capitalism's tendency toward financial crises, unemployment, and growing income and wealth disparities, along with playing a role in interventions that promote social welfare. Subsequently, some mixed economies have expanded in scope to include a role for indicative economic planning and/or large public enterprise sectors.

In reference to post-war Western and Northern European economic models, as championed by Christian democrats and social democrats, the mixed economy is defined as a form of capitalism where most industries are privately owned with only a minority of public utilities and essential services under public ownership. In the post-war era, European social democracy became associated with this economic model.