Economic Definition of retained earnings. Defined.
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Term retained earnings Definition: Officially termed undistributed corporate profits, these are corporate profits that are neither paid as corporate profits taxes nor paid to shareholders as dividends. Undistributed corporate profits are important for the derivation of personal income from national income. Because undistributed corporate profits are income that is earned by the shareholders, but not received, it falls in the general category of income earned but not received (IEBNR), and is subtracted from national income in the derivation of personal income.