intermittent growth, increase, expansion, or the like: the ratchet effect of defense expenditures.
Origin of ratchet effect
First recorded in 1965–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
economics an effect that occurs when a price or wage increases as a result of temporary pressure but fails to fall back when the pressure is removed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012