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Gross domestic product

GDP redirects here. For other uses, see GDP (disam- entire production process. It deliberately leaves out the
biguation).
intermediate consumption of business-to-business (B2B)
Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure transactions in the early and intermediate stages of production, as well as sales of used goods. In the United
States, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has introduced a new quarterly statistic called gross output
(GO), a broader measure that attempts to add up total
sales or revenues at all stages of production.[2] Mark Skousen was the rst economist to advocate GO as an important macroeconomic tool.[3] Other countries are following suit, such as the United Kingdom, which now produces an annual statistic called Total Output.
GDP attempts to measure the use economy, i.e., the
value of nished goods and services ready to be used by
consumers, business and government. GDP is similar to
the bottom line (earnings) of an accounting statement,
which determined the value added or the value of nal use. GO is an estimate of the make economy, i.e.,
the monetary value of sales at all stages of production.
Thus, GO is similar to the top line (revenues or sales)
of an accounting statement. GDP and GO are not mutually exclusive, but are complementary ways of examining
the state of an economy.

A map of world economies by size of GDP (nominal) in USD,


World Bank, 2014.[1]

As Dale Jorgenson, Steve Landefeld, and William Nordhaus conclude in Gross output [GO] is the natural measure of the production sector, while net output [GDP] is
appropriate as a measure of welfare. Both are required in
a complete system of accounts.[4] The largest GDPs by
continent are: the United States in the Americas,[5] Germany in Europe,[6] Nigeria in Africa,[7] China in Asia[8]
and Australia in Oceania.[9]

1 Denition
Selection of GDP PPP data (top 10 countries and blocks, 2014)
in no particular order

The OECD denes GDP as an aggregate measure of


production equal to the sum of the gross values added
of all resident, institutional units engaged in production
(plus any taxes, and minus any subsidies, on products not
included in the value of their outputs).[10] GDP by Industry can also measure the relative contribution of an
industry sector. This is possible because GDP is a measure of 'value added' rather than sales; it adds each rms
value added (the value of its output minus the value of
goods that are used up in producing it). For example, a
rm buys steel and adds value to it by producing a car;
double counting would occur if GDP added together the
value of the steel and the value of the car.[11] Gross output
(GO) measures sales at all stages of production and there-

of the value of all nal goods and services produced in a


period (quarterly or yearly). Nominal GDP estimates are
commonly used to determine the economic performance
of a whole country or region, and to make international
comparisons. Nominal GDP, however, does not reect
dierences in the cost of living and the ination rates of
the countries; therefore using a GDP PPP per capita basis is arguably more useful when comparing dierences
in living standards between nations.
GDP is not a complete measure of economic activity. It
accounts for nal output or value added at each stage of
production, but not total output or total sales along the
1

3 DETERMINING GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP)

fore involves some degree of double counting. Because


it is based on value added, GDP also increases when an
enterprise reduces its use of materials or other resources
('intermediate consumption') to produce the same output.
The more familiar use of GDP estimates is to calculate
the growth of the economy from year to year (and recently
from quarter to quarter). The pattern of GDP growth is
held to indicate the success or failure of economic policy
and to determine whether an economy is 'in recession'.

History

which sums the outputs of every class of enterprise to arrive at the total. The expenditure approach works on the
principle that all of the product must be bought by somebody, therefore the value of the total product must be
equal to peoples total expenditures in buying things. The
income approach works on the principle that the incomes
of the productive factors (producers, colloquially) must
be equal to the value of their product, and determines
GDP by nding the sum of all producers incomes.[17]

3.1 Production approach


This approach mirrors the OECD denition given above.

William Petty came up with a basic concept of GDP to


defend landlords against unfair taxation during warfare
between the Dutch and the English between 1652 and
1674.[12] Charles Davenant developed the method further in 1695.[13] The modern concept of GDP was rst
developed by Simon Kuznets for a US Congress report
in 1934.[14] In this report, Kuznets warned against its
use as a measure of welfare (see below under limitations
and criticisms). After the Bretton Woods conference in
1944, GDP became the main tool for measuring a countrys economy.[15] At that time Gross National Product
(GNP) was the preferred estimate, which diered from
GDP in that it measured production by a countrys citizens at home and abroad rather than its 'resident institutional units (see OECD denition above). The switch to
GDP was in the 1980s.

1. Estimate the gross value of domestic output out of


the many various economic activities;
2. Determine the intermediate consumption, i.e., the
cost of material, supplies and services used to produce nal goods or services.
3. Deduct intermediate consumption from gross value
to obtain the gross value added.
Gross value added = gross value of output value of intermediate consumption.
Value of output = value of the total sales of goods and
services plus value of changes in the inventories.

The sum of the gross value added in the various economic


The history of the concept of GDP should be distin- activities is known as GDP at factor cost.
guished from the history of changes in ways of estimating GDP at factor cost plus indirect taxes less subsidies on
it. The value added by rms is relatively easy to calcu- products = GDP at producer price.
late from their accounts, but the value added by the public sector, by nancial industries, and by intangible asset For measuring output of domestic product, economic accreation is more complex. These activities are increas- tivities (i.e. industries) are classied into various sectors.
ingly important in developed economies, and the inter- After classifying economic activities, the output of each
national conventions governing their estimation and their sector is calculated by any of the following two methods:
inclusion or exclusion in GDP regularly change in an at1. By multiplying the output of each sector by their retempt to keep up with industrial advances. In the words
spective market price and adding them together
of one academic economist The actual number for GDP
is therefore the product of a vast patchwork of statistics
and a complicated set of processes carried out on the raw
data to t them to the conceptual framework.[16]

2. By collecting data on gross sales and inventories


from the records of companies and adding them together

Angus Maddison calculated historical GDP gures going


back to 1830 and before.
The gross value of all sectors is then added to get the gross
value added (GVA) at factor cost. Subtracting each sectors intermediate consumption from gross output gives
GDP at factor cost. Adding indirect tax minus sub3 Determining gross domestic the
sidies in GDP at factor cost gives the GDP at producer
product (GDP)
prices.
GDP can be determined in three ways, all of which
3.2 Income approach
should, in principle, give the same result. They are
the production (or output or value added) approach, the The second way of estimating GDP is to use the sum
income approach, or the expenditure approach.
of primary incomes distributed by resident producer
The most direct of the three is the production approach, units.[10]

3.2

Income approach

3
These ve income components sum to net domestic income at factor cost.
Two adjustments must be made to get GDP:
1. Indirect taxes minus subsidies are added to get from
factor cost to market prices.

List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita by 2014 International


Monetary Fund.

2. Depreciation (or capital consumption allowance) is


added to get from net domestic product to gross domestic product.
Total income can be subdivided according to various
schemes, leading to various formulae for GDP measured
by the income approach. A common one is:
GDP = compensation of employees + gross operating surplus + gross mixed income + taxes
less subsidies on production and imports
GDP = COE + GOS + GMI + TP & M SP
&M

Countries by 2015 GDP (nominal) per capita.[18]

'Compensation of employees (COE) measures the total remuneration to employees for work done. It
includes wages and salaries, as well as employer
contributions to social security and other such programs.
Gross operating surplus (GOS) is the surplus due
to owners of incorporated businesses. Often called
prots, although only a subset of total costs are subtracted from gross output to calculate GOS.

U.S GDP computed on the income basis

Gross mixed income (GMI) is the same measure as


GOS, but for unincorporated businesses. This often
includes most small businesses.

If GDP is calculated this way it is sometimes called gross


domestic income (GDI), or GDP (I). GDI should provide
the same amount as the expenditure method described
later. (By denition, GDI = GDP. In practice, however,
measurement errors will make the two gures slightly o
when reported by national statistical agencies.)

The sum of COE, GOS and GMI is called total factor income; it is the income of all of the factors of production
in society. It measures the value of GDP at factor (basic) prices. The dierence between basic prices and nal
prices (those used in the expenditure calculation) is the
total taxes and subsidies that the government has levied
This method measures GDP by adding incomes that rms or paid on that production. So adding taxes less subsidies
pay households for factors of production they hire - wages on production and imports converts GDP at factor cost to
for labour, interest for capital, rent for land and prots for GDP(I).
entrepreneurship.
Total factor income is also sometimes expressed as:
The US National Income and Expenditure Accounts divide incomes into ve categories:
1. Wages, salaries, and supplementary labour income
2. Corporate prots

Total factor income = employee compensation


+ corporate prots + proprietors income +
rental income + net interest [19]
Yet another formula for GDP by the income method is:

3. Interest and miscellaneous investment income


4. Farmers incomes
5. Income from non-farm unincorporated businesses

GDP = R + I + P + SA + W
where R : rents
I : interests

3 DETERMINING GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP)

P : prots
SA : statistical adjustments (corporate income taxes, dividends, undistributed corporate prots)
W : wages.

3.3

Expenditure approach

The third way to estimate GDP is to calculate the sum of


the nal uses of goods and services (all uses except intermediate consumption) measured in purchasers prices.[10]
In economics, most things produced are produced for sale
and then sold. Therefore, measuring the total expenditure
of money used to buy things is a way of measuring production. This is known as the expenditure method of calculating GDP. Note that if you knit yourself a sweater,
it is production but does not get counted as GDP because it is never sold. Sweater-knitting is a small part
of the economy, but if one counts some major activities such as child-rearing (generally unpaid) as production, GDP ceases to be an accurate indicator of production. Similarly, if there is a long term shift from nonmarket provision of services (for example cooking, cleaning, child rearing, do-it yourself repairs) to market provision of services, then this trend toward increased market
provision of services may mask a dramatic decrease in
actual domestic production, resulting in overly optimistic
and inated reported GDP. This is particularly a problem for economies which have shifted from production
economies to service economies.

3.3.1

Components of GDP by expenditure

C (consumption) is normally the largest GDP


component in the economy, consisting of private
(household nal consumption expenditure) in the
economy. These personal expenditures fall under
one of the following categories: durable goods, nondurable goods, and services. Examples include food,
rent, jewelry, gasoline, and medical expenses but
does not include the purchase of new housing.
I (investment) includes, for instance, business investment in equipment, but does not include exchanges of existing assets. Examples include construction of a new mine, purchase of software, or
purchase of machinery and equipment for a factory.
Spending by households (not government) on new
houses is also included in investment. In contrast to
its colloquial meaning, investment in GDP does
not mean purchases of nancial products. Buying
nancial products is classed as 'saving', as opposed
to investment. This avoids double-counting: if one
buys shares in a company, and the company uses
the money received to buy plant, equipment, etc.,
the amount will be counted toward GDP when the
company spends the money on those things; to also
count it when one gives it to the company would be
to count two times an amount that only corresponds
to one group of products. Buying bonds or stocks is
a swapping of deeds, a transfer of claims on future
production, not directly an expenditure on products.
G (government spending) is the sum of
government expenditures on nal goods and
services. It includes salaries of public servants,
purchases of weapons for the military and any
investment expenditure by a government. It does
not include any transfer payments, such as social
security or unemployment benets.
X (exports) represents gross exports. GDP captures
the amount a country produces, including goods and
services produced for other nations consumption,
therefore exports are added.
M (imports) represents gross imports. Imports are
subtracted since imported goods will be included in
the terms G, I, or C, and must be deducted to avoid
counting foreign supply as domestic.

U.S. GDP computed on the expenditure basis.

GDP (Y) is the sum of consumption (C), investment


(I), government spending (G) and net exports (X M).
Y = C + I + G + (X M)
Here is a description of each GDP component:

A fully equivalent denition is that GDP (Y) is the sum of


nal consumption expenditure (FCE), gross capital
formation (GCF), and net exports (X M).
Y = FCE + GCF+ (X M)
FCE can then be further broken down by three sectors (households, governments and non-prot institutions serving households) and GCF by ve sectors (nonnancial corporations, nancial corporations, households, governments and non-prot institutions serving

3.3

Expenditure approach

households). The advantage of this second denition is as GDP.


that expenditure is systematically broken down, rstly,
by type of nal use (nal consumption or capital formaOne of the fundamental questions that
tion) and, secondly, by sectors making the expenditure,
must be addressed in preparing the national
whereas the rst denition partly follows a mixed delimeconomic accounts is how to dene the producitation concept by type of nal use and sector.
tion boundarythat is, what parts of the myriad human activities are to be included in or
Note that C, G, and I are expenditures on nal goods and
excluded from the measure of the economic
services; expenditures on intermediate goods and services
production.[22]
do not count. (Intermediate goods and services are those
used by businesses to produce other goods and services
All output for market is at least in theory included within
within the accounting year.[20] )
the boundary. Market output is dened as that which is
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, sold for economically signicant prices; economically
which is responsible for calculating the national accounts signicant prices are prices which have a signicant inin the United States, In general, the source data for uence on the amounts producers are willing to supply
the expenditures components are considered more reli- and purchasers wish to buy.[23] An exception is that ilable than those for the income components [see income legal goods and services are often excluded even if they
method, below].[21]
are sold at economically signicant prices (Australia and
the United States exclude them).
3.3.2

Examples of GDP component variables

C, I, G, and NX(net exports): If a person spends money


to renovate a hotel to increase occupancy rates, the spending represents private investment, but if he buys shares in
a consortium to execute the renovation, it is saving. The
former is included when measuring GDP (in I), the latter is not. However, when the consortium conducted its
own expenditure on renovation, that expenditure would
be included in GDP.
If a hotel is a private home, spending for renovation would
be measured as consumption, but if a government agency
converts the hotel into an oce for civil servants, the
spending would be included in the public sector spending, or G.
If the renovation involves the purchase of a chandelier
from abroad, that spending would be counted as C, G,
or I (depending on whether a private individual, the government, or a business is doing the renovation), but then
counted again as an import and subtracted from the GDP
so that GDP counts only goods produced within the country.
If a domestic producer is paid to make the chandelier for
a foreign hotel, the payment would not be counted as C,
G, or I, but would be counted as an export.

This leaves non-market output. It is partly excluded and


partly included. First, natural processes without human
involvement or direction are excluded.[24] Also, there
must be a person or institution that owns or is entitled
to compensation for the product. An example of what
is included and excluded by these criteria is given by the
United States national accounts agency: the growth of
trees in an uncultivated forest is not included in production, but the harvesting of the trees from that forest is
included.[25]
Within the limits so far described, the boundary is further
constricted by functional considerations.[26] The Australian Bureau for Statistics explains this: The national
accounts are primarily constructed to assist governments
and others to make market-based macroeconomic policy
decisions, including analysis of markets and factors affecting market performance, such as ination and unemployment. Consequently, production that is, according
to them, relatively independent and isolated from markets, or dicult to value in an economically meaningful way [i.e., dicult to put a price on] is excluded.[27]
Thus excluded are services provided by people to members of their own families free of charge, such as child
rearing, meal preparation, cleaning, transportation, entertainment of family members, emotional support, care of
the elderly.[28] Most other production for own (or ones
familys) use is also excluded, with two notable exceptions which are given in the list later in this section.
Non-market outputs that are included within the boundary are listed below. Since, by denition, they do not
have a market price, the compilers of GDP must impute
a value to them, usually either the cost of the goods and
services used to produce them, or the value of a similar
item that is sold on the market.

countries by real GDP growth rate (2014).

A production boundary delimits what will be counted

Goods and services provided by governments and


non-prot organizations free of charge or for economically insignicant prices are included. The

5
value of these goods and services is estimated as
equal to their cost of production. This ignores
the consumer surplus generated by an ecient and
eective government supplied infrastructure. For
example, government-provided clean water confers
substantial benets above its cost. Ironically, lack
of such infrastructure which would result in higher
water prices (and probably higher hospital and medication expenditures) would be reected as a higher
GDP. This may also cause a bias that mistakenly favors inecient privatizations since some of the consumer surplus from privatized entities sale of goods
and services are indeed reected in GDP.[29]

GDP VS GNI

4 Forecasting gross domestic product (GDP)


At present time, the forecast of the gross domestic product (GDP) is performed with the use of the Stratonovich
- Kalman - Bucy ltering algorithm.[31]

5 GDP vs GNI

GDP can be contrasted with gross national product


(GNP) or, as it is now known, gross national income
(GNI). The dierence is that GDP denes its scope acGoods and services produced for own-use by busi- cording to location, while GNI denes its scope according
nesses are attempted to be included. An example to ownership. In a global context, world GDP and world
of this kind of production would be a machine con- GNI are, therefore, equivalent terms.
structed by an engineering rm for use in its own
GDP is product produced within a countrys borders;
plant.
GNI is product produced by enterprises owned by a countrys citizens. The two would be the same if all of the proRenovations and upkeep by an individual to a home ductive enterprises in a country were owned by its own
that she owns and occupies are included. The value citizens, and those citizens did not own productive enterof the upkeep is estimated as the rent that she could prises in any other countries. In practice, however, forcharge for the home if she did not occupy it her- eign ownership makes GDP and GNI non-identical. Proself. This is the largest item of production for own duction within a countrys borders, but by an enterprise
use by an individual (as opposed to a business) that owned by somebody outside the country, counts as part
the compilers include in GDP.[29] If the measure of its GDP but not its GNI; on the other hand, production
uses historical or book prices for real estate, this by an enterprise located outside the country, but owned
will grossly underestimate the value of the rent in by one of its citizens, counts as part of its GNI but not its
real estate markets which have experienced signi- GDP.
cant price increases (or economies with general ination). Furthermore, depreciation schedules for For example, the GNI of the USA is the value of output
houses often accelerate the accounted depreciation produced by American-owned rms, regardless of where
relative to actual depreciation (a well-built house can the rms are located. Similarly, if a country becomes inbe lived in for several hundred years a very long creasingly in debt, and spends large amounts of income
time after it has been fully depreciated). In sum- servicing this debt this will be reected in a decreased
mary, this is likely to grossly underestimate the value GNI but not a decreased GDP. Similarly, if a country
of existing housing stock on consumers actual con- sells o its resources to entities outside their country this
will also be reected over time in decreased GNI, but not
sumption or income.
decreased GDP. This would make the use of GDP more
attractive for politicians in countries with increasing naAgricultural production for consumption by oneself tional debt and decreasing assets.
or ones household is included.
Gross national income (GNI) equals GDP plus income receipts from the rest of the world minus income payments
Services (such as chequeing-account maintenance
to the rest of the world.[32]
and services to borrowers) provided by banks and
other nancial institutions without charge or for a In 1991, the United States switched from using GNP
[33]
fee that does not reect their full value have a value to using GDP as its primary measure of production.
imputed to them by the compilers and are included. The relationship between United States GDP and GNP is
The nancial institutions provide these services by shown in table 1.7.5 of the National Income and Product
[34]
giving the customer a less advantageous interest rate Accounts.
than they would if the services were absent; the value
imputed to these services by the compilers is the difference between the interest rate of the account with 5.1 International standards
the services and the interest rate of a similar account
that does not have the services. According to the The international standard for measuring GDP is
United States Bureau for Economic Analysis, this is contained in the book System of National Accounts
(1993), which was prepared by representatives of
one of the largest imputed items in the GDP.[30]

7
the International Monetary Fund, European Union,
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations and World Bank. The publication
is normally referred to as SNA93 to distinguish it from
the previous edition published in 1968 (called SNA68)

or constant, GDP.

The factor used to convert GDP from current to constant values in this way is called the GDP deator. Unlike
consumer price index, which measures ination or deation in the price of household consumer goods, the GDP
[35]
deator measures changes in the prices of all domestiSNA93 provides a set of rules and procedures for the cally produced goods and services in an economy includmeasurement of national accounts. The standards are de- ing investment goods and government services, as well as
signed to be exible, to allow for dierences in local sta- household consumption goods.[36]
tistical needs and conditions.
Constant-GDP gures allow us to calculate a GDP growth

5.2

National measurement

Within each country GDP is normally measured by a national government statistical agency, as private sector organizations normally do not have access to the information required (especially information on expenditure and
production by governments).
Main article: National agencies responsible for GDP
measurement

5.3

Interest rates

Net interest expense is a transfer payment in all sectors


except the nancial sector. Net interest expenses in the
nancial sector are seen as production and value added
and are added to GDP.

Nominal GDP and adjustments


to GDP

The raw GDP gure as given by the equations above is


called the nominal, historical, or current, GDP. When one
compares GDP gures from one year to another, it is desirable to compensate for changes in the value of money
i.e., for the eects of ination or deation. To make it
more meaningful for year-to-year comparisons, it may be
multiplied by the ratio between the value of money in the
year the GDP was measured and the value of money in a
base year.

rate, which indicates how much a countrys production


has increased (or decreased, if the growth rate is negative)
compared to the previous year.
Real GDP growth rate for year n = [(Real GDP
in year n) (Real GDP in year n 1)] / (Real
GDP in year n 1)
Another thing that it may be desirable to account for
is population growth. If a countrys GDP doubled over
a certain period, but its population tripled, the increase
in GDP may not mean that the standard of living increased for the countrys residents; the average person
in the country is producing less than they were before.
Per-capita GDP is a measure to account for population
growth.

7 Cross-border comparison and


purchasing power parity
The level of GDP in dierent countries may be compared
by converting their value in national currency according
to either the current currency exchange rate, or the purchasing power parity exchange rate.
Current currency exchange rate is the exchange
rate in the international foreign exchange market.
Purchasing power parity exchange rate is the exchange rate based on the purchasing power parity
(PPP) of a currency relative to a selected standard
(usually the United States dollar). This is a comparative (and theoretical) exchange rate, the only way to
directly realize this rate is to sell an entire CPI basket
in one country, convert the cash at the currency market rate & then rebuy that same basket of goods in
the other country (with the converted cash). Going
from country to country, the distribution of prices
within the basket will vary; typically, non-tradable
purchases will consume a greater proportion of the
baskets total cost in the higher GDP country, per
the Balassa-Samuelson eect.

For example, suppose a countrys GDP in 1990 was $100


million and its GDP in 2000 was $300 million. Suppose
also that ination had halved the value of its currency over
that period. To meaningfully compare its GDP in 2000 to
its GDP in 1990, we could multiply the GDP in 2000 by
one-half, to make it relative to 1990 as a base year. The
result would be that the GDP in 2000 equals $300 million one-half = $150 million, in 1990 monetary terms.
We would see that the countrys GDP had realistically increased 50 percent over that period, not 200 percent, as it
might appear from the raw GDP data. The GDP adjusted The ranking of countries may dier signicantly based on
for changes in money value in this way is called the real, which method is used.

9 STANDARD OF LIVING AND GDP: WEALTH DISTRIBUTION AND EXTERNALITIES


The current exchange rate method converts the
value of goods and services using global currency
exchange rates. The method can oer better indications of a countrys international purchasing power.
For instance, if 10% of GDP is being spent on buying hi-tech foreign arms, the number of weapons
purchased is entirely governed by current exchange
rates, since arms are a traded product bought on the
international market. There is no meaningful 'local'
price distinct from the international price for high
technology goods. The PPP method of GDP conversion is more relevant to non-traded goods and
services. In the above example if hi-tech weapons
are to be produced internally their amount will be
governed by GDP(PPP) rather than nominal GDP.

There is a clear pattern of the purchasing power parity


method decreasing the disparity in GDP between high
and low income (GDP) countries, as compared to the current exchange rate method. This nding is called the Penn
eect.
For more information, see Measures of national income
and output.

Per unit GDP

GDP is an aggregate gure that does not consider diering sizes of nations. Therefore, GDP can be stated as
GDP per capita (per person) in which total GDP is divided by the resident population on a given date, GDP
per citizen where total GDP is divided by the numbers of
citizens residing in the country on a given date, and less
commonly GDP per unit of a resource input, such as GDP
per GJ of energy or gross domestic product per barrel.
GDP per citizen in the above case is similar to GDP per
capita in most nations. However, in nations with very high
proportions of temporary foreign workers like in Persian
Gulf nations, the two gures can be vastly dierent.
Source: Helgi Library,[37] World Bank

Standard of living and GDP:


Wealth distribution and externalities

GDP per capita is often used as an indicator of living standards.[38] Notably on the rationale that all citizens would benet from their countrys increased economic production as it leads to an increase in consumption opportunities which in turn increases the standard of
living.[39] Similarly, GDP per capita is not a measure of
personal income. In fact GDP may increase while real
incomes for the majority decline.
The major advantage of GDP per capita as an indicator of

standard of living is that it is measured frequently, widely,


and consistently. It is measured frequently in that most
countries provide information on GDP on a quarterly basis, allowing trends to be seen quickly. It is measured
widely in that some measure of GDP is available for almost every country in the world, allowing inter-country
comparisons. It is measured consistently in that the technical denition of GDP is relatively consistent among
countries.
GDP is a neutral measure which merely shows an economys general ability to pay for externalities such as social
and environmental concerns.[40] In essence it is intended
to be a measure of total national economic activity a
separate concept. As a consequence GDP not does include several factors that inuence the standard of living.
In particular, it fails to account for:
Asset value GDP does not take into account the
value of all assets in an economy. This is akin to
ignoring a companys balance sheet, and judging it
solely on the basis of its income statement.
Cross-border comparisons of GDP can be inaccurate as they do not take into account local dierences in the quality of goods, even when adjusted for
purchasing power parity. This type of adjustment to
an exchange rate is controversial because of the difculties of nding comparable baskets of goods to
compare purchasing power across countries. For instance, people in country A may consume the same
number of locally produced apples as in country B,
but apples in country A are of a more tasty variety. This dierence in material well being will not
show up in GDP statistics. This is especially true for
goods that are not traded globally, such as houses.
Externalities Economic growth usually entails an
increase in negative externalities that cannot directly
be measured by GDP[39][41]
Nominal GDP does not measure variations in purchasing power or costs of living by area, so when
the GDP gure is deated over time, GDP growth
can vary greatly depending on the basket of goods
used and the relative proportions used to deate the
GDP gure.
Non-market transactionsGDP excludes activities that are not provided through the market, such as
household production and volunteer or unpaid services. As a result, GDP is understated. The work of
New Zealand economist Marilyn Waring has highlighted that if a concerted attempt to factor in unpaid
work were made, then it would in part undo the injustices of unpaid (and in some cases, slave) labour,
and also provide the political transparency and accountability necessary for democracy.
Non-monetary economy GDP omits economies
where no money comes into play at all, resulting

9
in inaccurate or abnormally low GDP gures. For
example, in countries with major business transactions occurring informally, portions of local economy are not easily registered. Bartering may be
more prominent than the use of money, even extending to services.[41]
Quality improvements and inclusion of new
products by not adjusting for quality improvements and new products, GDP understates true
economic growth. For instance, although computers today are less expensive and more powerful than
computers from the past, GDP treats them as the
same products by only accounting for the monetary
value. The introduction of new products is also difcult to measure accurately and is not reected in
GDP despite the fact that it may increase the standard of living. For example, even the richest person in 1900 could not purchase standard products,
such as antibiotics and cell phones, that an average
consumer can buy today, since such modern conveniences did not exist then.

Consumers are in a better position to buy goods


Productivity correlates with standard of living, and
GDP per capita takes this into account
People who live in countries with higher real GDP
per capita tend to be more educated and live longer
Goods and services are a key element of economic
well-being
GDP per capita as a standard of living is a continued usage because most people have a fairly accurate idea of
what it is and know it is tough to come up with quantitative measures for such constructs as happiness, quality of
life, and well-being.[38]
In conclusion, the argument for using GDP as a standardof-living proxy is not that it is a good indicator of the absolute level of standard of living, but that living standards
tend to correlate with per capita GDP, so that changes in
living standards are readily detected through changes in
GDP.

Sustainability of growth GDP is a measurement


of economic historic activity and is not necessarily
a projection. A country may achieve a temporarily 10 Limitations and criticisms
high GDP from use of natural resources or by misSimon Kuznets, the economist who developed the rst
allocating investment.
comprehensive set of measures of national income, stated
Underground economy ocial GDP estimates in his rst report to the US Congress in 1934, in a
may not take into account the underground econ- section titled Uses and Abuses of National Income
omy, in which transactions contributing to pro- Measurements":[14]
duction, such as illegal trade and tax-avoiding
activities, are unreported, causing GDP to be
The valuable capacity of the human mind
underestimated.[41]
to simplify a complex situation in a compact
Wealth distribution GDP does not account
characterization becomes dangerous when not
for variances in incomes of various demographic
controlled in terms of denitely stated criteria.
groups. See income inequality metrics for disWith quantitative measurements especially, the
cussion of a variety of inequality-based economic
deniteness of the result suggests, often mismeasures.[41]
leadingly, a precision and simplicity in the outlines of the object measured. Measurements of
GDP also ignores subsistence production.
national income are subject to this type of illusion and resulting abuse, especially since they
What is being produced GDP counts work that
deal with matters that are the center of conict
produces no net change or that results from repairof opposing social groups where the eectiveing harm. For example, rebuilding after a natness of an argument is often contingent upon
ural disaster or war may produce a considerable
oversimplication. [...]
amount of economic activity and thus boost GDP.
The economic value of health care is another classic
exampleit may raise GDP if many people are sick
All these qualications upon estimates of
and they are receiving expensive treatment, but it is
national income as an index of productivity are
not a desirable situation. Alternative economic estijust as important when income measurements
mates, such as the standard of living or discretionary
are interpreted from the point of view of ecoincome per capita try to measure the human utility
nomic welfare. But in the latter case additional
of economic activity. See uneconomic growth.[41]
diculties will be suggested to anyone who
wants to penetrate below the surface of total
It can be argued that GDP per capita as an indicator stangures and market values. Economic welfare
dard of living can be proven through these factors:[38][42]
cannot be adequately measured unless the personal distribution of income is known. And no
More goods and services are available to consumers
income measurement undertakes to estimate

10

12 LIST OF OTHER APPROACHES TO THE MEASUREMENT OF (ECONOMIC) PROGRESS


the reverse side of income, that is, the intensity and unpleasantness of eort going into the
earning of income. The welfare of a nation can,
therefore, scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as dened above.

In 1962, Kuznets stated:[43]


Distinctions must be kept in mind between
quantity and quality of growth, between costs
and returns, and between the short and long
run. Goals for more growth should specify
more growth of what and for what.

Many environmentalists argue that GDP is a poor measure of social progress because it does not take into account harm to the environment.[45][46]
In 1989 Herman Daly and John B. Cobb developed the
Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), which
they proposed as a more valid measure of socio-economic
progress, by taking into account various other factors such
as consumption of non-renewable resources and degradation of the environment.

11 Lists of countries by their GDP


Lists of countries by GDP

Austrian School economist Frank Shostak has argued that


GDP is an empty abstraction devoid of any link to the real
world, and, therefore, has little or no value in economic
analysis. Says Shostak:[44]
The GDP framework cannot tell us
whether nal goods and services that were
produced during a particular period of time
are a reection of real wealth expansion,
or a reection of capital consumption. For
instance, if a government embarks on the
building of a pyramid, which adds absolutely
nothing to the well-being of individuals, the
GDP framework will regard this as economic
growth. In reality, however, the building of
the pyramid will divert real funding from
wealth-generating activities, thereby stiing
the production of wealth.
So what are we to make out of the periodical pronouncements that the economy, as depicted by real GDP, grew by a particular percentage? All we can say is that this percentage
has nothing to do with real economic growth
and that it most likely mirrors the pace of monetary pumping. We can thus conclude that the
GDP framework is an empty abstraction devoid of any link to the real world.
The UKs Natural Capital Committee highlighted the
shortcomings of GDP in its advice to the UK Government in 2013, pointing out that GDP focusses on ows,
not stocks. As a result an economy can run down its assets
yet, at the same time, record high levels of GDP growth,
until a point is reached where the depleted assets act as a
check on future growth. They then went on to say that
it is apparent that the recorded GDP growth rate overstates the sustainable growth rate. Broader measures of
wellbeing and wealth are needed for this and there is a
danger that short-term decisions based solely on what is
currently measured by national accounts may prove to be
costly in the long-term.

List of countries by GDP (nominal), (per capita)


List of continents by GDP (nominal)
List of countries by GDP (PPP), (per capita), (per
hour)
List of countries by GDP (real) growth rate, (per
capita)
List of countries by GDP sector composition
List of countries by future GDP estimates (PPP),
(per capita), (nominal)

12 List of other approaches to


the measurement of (economic)
progress
Composite Wealth Indicators Namely yearly material wealth (an amended version of GNI to include depletion of natural resources and the costs
of pollution), biological wealth (measured through
life expectancy) and thus expected material wealth
(or physical wealth), a linear combination of biological and yearly material wealth (the amount of material wealth expected to be produced by an individual
during his/her lifetime).[47]
European Quality of Life Survey The survey, rst
published in 2005, assessed quality of life across
European countries through a series of questions
on overall subjective life satisfaction, satisfaction
with dierent aspects of life, and sets of questions
used to calculate decits of time, loving, being and
having.[48]
Future Orientation Index - Tobias Preis et al. used
Google Trends data to demonstrate that Internet
users from countries with a higher per capita gross
domestic product (GDP) are more likely to search
for information about the future than information

11
about the past. The ndings, published in the journal Scientic Reports, suggest there may be a link
between online behaviour and real-world economic
indicators.[49][50][51] The authors of the study examined Google search queries made by Internet users
in 45 dierent countries in 2010 and calculated the
ratio of the volume of searches for the coming year
('2011') to the volume of searches for the previous
year ('2009'), which they call the 'future orientation index'.[52] They compared the future orientation index to the per capita GDP of each country
and found a strong tendency for countries in which
Google users enquire more about the future to exhibit a higher GDP. The results hint that there may
potentially be a relationship between the economic
success of a country and the information-seeking behaviour of its citizens online.
Genuine progress indicator (GPI) or Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) The GPI and
the ISEW attempt to address many of the above criticisms by taking the same raw information supplied
for GDP and then adjust for income distribution,
add for the value of household and volunteer work,
and subtract for crime and pollution.
Gross national happiness The Centre for
Bhutanese Studies in Bhutan is working on a
complex set of subjective and objective indicators
to measure 'national happiness in various domains
(living standards, health, education, eco-system diversity and resilience, cultural vitality and diversity,
time use and balance, good governance, community
vitality and psychological well-being). This set of
indicators would be used to assess progress towards
gross national happiness, which they have already
identied as being the nations priority, above GDP.
Happy Planet Index The happy planet index (HPI)
is an index of human well-being and environmental
impact, introduced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in 2006. It measures the environmental
eciency with which human well-being is achieved
within a given country or group. Human well-being
is dened in terms of subjective life satisfaction and
life expectancy while environmental impact is dened by the Ecological Footprint.
Human development index (HDI) up until 2009
report HDI used GDP as a part of its calculation and
then factors in indicators of life expectancy and education levels. In 2010 the GDP component has been
replaced with GNI.
OECD Better Life Index - The better lives compendium of indicators produced in 2011 reects
some 10 years by the organisation to develop a wider
of set of indicators more closely attuned to the measurement of wellbeing or welfare outcomes. There
is felt to be considerable convergence (in 2011) in

high income countries about the kinds of dimensions


that should be included in such multi-dimensional
approaches to welfare measurement - see for instance the capabilities measurement research project
capabilities approach.
Social Progress Index - measures the extent to which
countries provide for the social and environmental
needs of their citizens. Fifty-two indicators in the
areas of basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity show the relative performance
of nations. The index uses outcome measures when
there is sucient data available or the closest possible proxies.
World Governance Index - Basing their work on the
United Nations Millennium Declaration, which was
the subject of unprecedented U.N. consensus among
the heads of state and government who adopted it
in 2000, a team of researchers of the Forum for
a new World Governance (FnWG) focused its research on the ve main concepts dening the application framework of world governance and constituting key goals to be reached by 2015: Peace
and Security; Democracy and Rule of Law; Human
Rights and Participation; Sustainable Development
and Human Development

13 See also
Annual average GDP growth
Chained volume series
Circular ow of income
GDP density
Gross output
Gross regional domestic product
Gross state product
Gross value added
Gross world product
Intermediate consumption
Inventory investment
List of countries by average wage
List of countries by household income
List of countries by GDP (nominal)
List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita
List of countries by GDP (PPP)
List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita

12

14

NOTES AND REFERENCES

List of economic reports by U.S. government agencies

[15] Dickinson, Elizabeth. GDP: a brief history. ForeignPolicy.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012.

Misery index (economics)

[16] Coyle, Diane (2014). GDP: A Brief but Aectionate


History. Princeton University Press. p. 6. ISBN
9780691156798.

National average salary


Potential output
Production (economics)
Real gross domestic product

14

Notes and references

[1] GDP (Ocial Exchange Rate)" (PDF). World Bank.


Retrieved August 24, 2015.
[2] Analysis, US Department of Commerce, BEA, Bureau of
Economic. Bureau of Economic Analysis. www.bea.
gov. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
[3] Skousen, Mark (2015). The Structure of Production. New
York University Press. ISBN 978-1479848522.
[4] Jorgenson, Dale W.; Landefeld, J. Steven; Nordhaus,
William ed. (2006). A New Architecture for the U. S.
National Accounts. Chicago University Press. p. 5. ISBN
978-0226410845.
[5] Economic Power in a Changing International System Page 25, Ewan W. Anderson, Ivars Gutmanis, Liam D.
Anderson - 2000

[17] World Bank, Statistical Manual >> National Accounts >>


GDPnal output, retrieved October 2009.
Users guide: Background information on GDP and GDP
deator. HM Treasury.
Measuring the Economy: A Primer on GDP and the National Income and Product Accounts (PDF). Bureau of
Economic Analysis.
[18] Based on the IMF data. If no data was available for a
country from IMF, I used WorldBank data.
[19] United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, A guide to
the National Income and Product Accounts of the United
States PDF, page 5; retrieved November 2009. Another
term, business current transfer payments, may be added.
Also, the document indicates that the capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj) and the inventory valuation adjustment (IVA) are applied to the proprietors income and
corporate prots terms; and CCAdj is applied to rental
income.
[20] Thayer Watkins, San Jos State University Department of
Economics, Gross Domestic Product from the Transactions Table for an Economy, commentary to rst table,
" Transactions Table for an Economy. (Page retrieved
November 2009.)

[6] OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, 2004, p 92


[21] Concepts and Methods of the United States National In[7] http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/
come and Product Accounts, chap. 2.
21600685-nigerias-suddenly-supersized-economy-indeed-wonder-so-are-its-still-huge
[8] China and the World Economy, Yih-chyi Chuang, Simona
Thomas - 2010

[22] BEA, Concepts and Methods of the United States National


Income and Product Accounts, p 12.

[9] Field listing - GDP (PPP exchange rate), CIA World Factbook

[23] Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and


Methods, 2000, sections 3.5 and 4.15.

[10] OECD. Retrieved 14 August 2014.


[11] Dawson, Graham (2006). Economics and Economic
Chenge.
FT / Prentice Hall.
p.
205.
ISBN
9780273693512.
[12] Petty impressive. The Economist. Retrieved August 1,
2015.
[13] Coyle, Diane. Warfare and the Invention of GDP. The
Globalist. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
[14] Congress commissioned Kuznets to create a system that
would measure the nations productivity in order to better
understand how to tackle the Great Depression.Simon
Kuznets, 1934. National Income, 19291932. 73rd US
Congress, 2d session, Senate document no. 124, page 5-7
Simon Kuznets, 1934. National Income, 19291932.
73rd US Congress, 2d session, Senate document no.
124, page 5-7 Simon Kuznets, 1934. National Income,
19291932. 73rd US Congress, 2d session, Senate
document no. 124, page 5-7. https://fraser.stlouisfed.
org/scribd/?title_id=971&filepath=/docs/publications/
natincome_1934/19340104_nationalinc.pdf

[24] This and the following statement on entitlement to compensation are from Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2000, section 4.6.
[25] Concepts and Methods of the United States National Income and Product Accounts, page 2-2.
[26] Concepts and Methods of the United States National Income and Product Accounts, page 2-2.
[27] Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and
Methods, 2000, section 4.4.
[28] Concepts and Methods of the United States National Income and Product Accounts, page 2-2; and Australian National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2000,
section 4.4.
[29] Concepts and Methods of the United States National Income and Product Accounts, page 2-4.
[30] Concepts and Methods of the United States National Income and Product Accounts, page 2-5.

13

[31] Dimitri O. Ledenyov, Viktor O. Ledenyov, On the


Stratonovich - Kalman - Bucy ltering algorithm application for accurate characterization of nancial time series with use of state-space model by central banks, 23rd
Conference on the Theories and Practices of Securities
and Financial Markets, National Sun Yat-sen University,
Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taiwan, December 1112, 2015, 52
pages article
[32] Lequiller, Franois; Derek Blades (2006). Understanding
National Accounts. OECD. p. 18. ISBN 978-92-6402566-0. To convert GDP into GNI, it is necessary to
add the income received by resident units from abroad and
deduct the income created by production in the country
but transferred to units residing abroad.
[33] United States, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Glossary,
GDP. Retrieved November 2009.
[34] U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic
Analysis. Bea.gov. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
[35] National Accounts. Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
[36] HM Treasury, Background information on GDP and GDP
deator
Some of the complications involved in comparing national
accounts from dierent years are explained in this World
Bank document.
[37] |
http://helgilibrary.com/indicators/index/
gdp-per-capita-current-usd GDP Per Capita (Current USD) | 2014-02-10
[38] How Do We Measure Standard of Living?" (PDF). The
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
[39] Mankiw, N.G.; Taylor, M.P. (2011). Economics (2nd ed.,
revised ed.). Andover: Cengage Learning.
[40] Eric Zencey-G.D.P. R.I.P..
2009. Retrieved 2011-01-31.

Nytimes.com.

August

[41] Macroeconomics - GDP and Welfare. Retrieved 201502-21.


[42] How Real GDP per Capita Aects the Standard of Living. Study.com.
[43] Simon Kuznets. How To Judge Quality. The New Republic, October 20, 1962
[44] Frank Shostak. What is up with the GDP?".
[45] The Virtues of Ignoring GDP http://www.thebrokeronline.
eu/Articles/The-virtues-of-ignoring-GDP
[46] The Rise and Fall of G.D.P. http://www.nytimes.com/
2010/05/16/magazine/16GDP-t.html?pagewanted=all
[47] See Emanuele Felice, Neither dashboard nor 'mashup'
indices: an empirical wealth approach as a pathway to
a comprehensive measure of development, http://www.
h-economica.uab.es/wps/2012_01.pdf
[48] First European Quality of Life Survey.

[49] Tobias Preis, Helen Susannah Moat, H. Eugene Stanley and Steven R. Bishop (2012). Quantifying the
Advantage of Looking Forward. Scientic Reports 2:
350. doi:10.1038/srep00350. PMC: 3320057. PMID
22482034.
[50] Paul Marks (April 5, 2012). Online searches for future
linked to economic success. New Scientist. Retrieved
April 9, 2012.
[51] Casey Johnston (April 6, 2012). Google Trends reveals
clues about the mentality of richer nations. Ars Technica.
Retrieved April 9, 2012.
[52] Tobias Preis (2012-05-24). Supplementary Information:
The Future Orientation Index is available for download
(PDF). Retrieved 2012-05-24.

15 Further reading
Coyle, Diane (2014). GDP: A Brief but Aectionate
History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
ISBN 978-0-691-15679-8.
Australian Bureau for Statistics, Australian National
Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2000.
Retrieved November 2009. In depth explanations
of how GDP and other national accounts items are
determined.
United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of
Economic Analysis, Concepts and Methods of the
United States National Income and Product Accounts
PDF. Retrieved November 2009. In depth explanations of how GDP and other national accounts items
are determined.

16 External links
16.1 Global
Australian Bureau of Statistics Manual on GDP
measurement
GDP-indexed bonds
OECD GDP chart
UN Statistical Databases
World Development Indicators (WDI) at Worldbank.org
World GDP Chart (since 1960)

14

16.2

16

Data

Bureau of Economic Analysis:


States GDP data

Ocial United

Historicalstatistics.org: Links to historical statistics


on GDP for dierent countries and regions, maintained by the Department of Economic History at
Stockholm University.
Quandl - GDP by country - downloadable in CSV,
Excel, JSON or XML
Historical US GDP (yearly data), 1790present,
maintained by Samuel H. Williamson and Lawrence
H. Ocer, both professors of economics at the
University of Illinois at Chicago.
Historical US GDP (quarterly data), 1947present
Google public data: GDP and Personal Income of
the U.S. (annual): Nominal Gross Domestic Product
The Maddison Project of the Groningen Growth and
Development Centre at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. This project continues and
extends the work of Angus Maddison in collating
all the available, credible data estimating GDP for
dierent countries around the world. This includes
data for some countries for over 2,000 years back to
1 CE and for essentially all countries since 1950.

16.3

Articles and books

Gross Domestic Product: An Economys All,


International Monetary Fund.
Stiglitz JE, Sen A, Fitoussi J-P. Mismeasuring our
Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up, New Press, New
York, 2010
Whats wrong with the GDP?
Whether output and CPI ination are mismeasured,
by Nouriel Roubini and David Backus, in Lectures
in Macroeconomics
Rodney Edvinsson, Growth, Accumulation, Crisis:
With New Macroeconomic Data for Sweden 1800
2000 PDF
Cliord Cobb, Ted Halstead and Jonathan Rowe.
If the GDP is up, why is America down?" The
Atlantic Monthly, vol. 276, no. 4, October 1995,
pages 5978
Jerorn C.J.M. van den Bergh, "Abolishing GDP"
GDP and GNI in OECD Observer No246-247, Dec
2004-Jan 2005
Progress, what progress? in OECD Observer No272
March 2009

EXTERNAL LINKS

15

17
17.1

Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses


Text

Gross domestic product Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product?oldid=715300364 Contributors: AxelBoldt,


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