Measures of national income and output

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A variety of measures of national income and output are used in economics to estimate total economic activity in a country or region, including gross domestic product (GDP), gross national product (GNP), net national income (NNI), and adjusted national income (NNI adjusted for natural resource depletion – also called as NNI at factor cost). All are specially concerned with counting the total amount of goods and services produced within the economy and by different sectors. The boundary is usually defined by geography or citizenship, and it is also defined as the total income of the nation and also restrict the goods and services that are counted. For instance, some measures count only goods & services that are exchanged for money, excluding bartered goods, while other measures may attempt to include bartered goods by imputing monetary values to them. [1]

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Gross domestic product market value of goods and services produced within a country

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period, often annually. GDP (nominal) per capita does not, however, reflect differences in the cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries; therefore using a basis of GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) is arguably more useful when comparing living standards between nations, while Nominal GDP is more useful comparing national economies on the international market.

In national income accounting, net national income (NNI) is net national product (NNP) minus indirect taxes. Net national income encompasses the income of households, businesses, and the government. Net national income is defined as gross domestic product plus net receipts of wages, salaries and property income from abroad, minus the depreciation of fixed capital assets through wear and tear and obsolescence.

Contents

National accounts

Arriving at a figure for the total production of goods and services in a large region like a country entails a large amount of data-collection and calculation. Although some attempts were made to estimate national incomes as long ago as the 17th century, [2] the systematic keeping of national accounts, of which these figures are a part, only began in the 1930s, in the United States and some European countries. The impetus for that major statistical effort was the Great Depression and the rise of Keynesian economics, which prescribed a greater role for the government in managing an economy, and made it necessary for governments to obtain accurate information so that their interventions into the economy could proceed as well-informed as possible.

National accounts or national account systems (NAS) are the implementation of complete and consistent accounting techniques for measuring the economic activity of a nation. These include detailed underlying measures that rely on double-entry accounting. By design, such accounting makes the totals on both sides of an account equal even though they each measure different characteristics, for example production and the income from it. As a method, the subject is termed national accounting or, more generally, social accounting. Stated otherwise, national accounts as systems may be distinguished from the economic data associated with those systems. While sharing many common principles with business accounting, national accounts are based on economic concepts. One conceptual construct for representing flows of all economic transactions that take place in an economy is a social accounting matrix with accounts in each respective row-column entry.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries, it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

Market value

In order to count a good or service, it is necessary to assign value to it. The value that the measures of national income and output assign to a good or service is its market value the price it fetches when bought or sold. The actual usefulness of a product (its use-value) is not measured assuming the use-value to be any different from its market value.

Three strategies have been used to obtain the market values of all the goods and services produced: the product (or output) method, the expenditure method, and the income method. The product method looks at the economy on an industry-by-industry basis. The total output of the economy is the sum of the outputs of every industry. However, since an output of one industry may be used by another industry and become part of the output of that second industry, to avoid counting the item twice we use not the value output by each industry, but the value-added; that is, the difference between the value of what it puts out and what it takes in. The total value produced by the economy is the sum of the values-added by every industry.

The expenditure method is based on the idea that all products are bought by somebody or some organisation. Therefore, we sum up the total amount of money people and organisations spend in buying things. This amount must equal the value of everything produced. Usually, expenditures by private individuals, expenditures by businesses, and expenditures by government are calculated separately and then summed to give the total expenditure. Also, a correction term must be introduced to account for imports and exports outside the boundary.

The income method works by summing the incomes of all producers within the boundary. Since what they are paid is just the market value of their product, their total income must be the total value of the product. Wages, proprietor's incomes, and corporate profits are the major subdivisions of income.

Methods of measuring national income

Output

The output approach focuses on finding the total output of a nation by directly finding the total value of all goods and services a nation produces.

Because of the complication of the multiple stages in the production of a good or service, only the final value of a good or service is included in the total output. This avoids an issue often called 'double counting', wherein the total value of a good is included several times in national output, by counting it repeatedly in several stages of production. In the example of meat production, the value of the good from the farm may be $10, then $30 from the butchers, and then $60 from the supermarket. The value that should be included in final national output should be $60, not the sum of all those numbers, $100. The values added at each stage of production over the previous stage are respectively $10, $20, and $30. Their sum gives an alternative way of calculating the value of final output.

Double counting in accounting is an error whereby a transaction is counted more than once, for whatever reason. But in social accounting it also refers to a conceptual problem in social accounting practice, when the attempt is made to estimate the new value added by Gross Output, or the value of total investments.

In business, the difference between the sale price and the production cost of a product is the unit profit. In economics, the sum of the unit profit, the unit depreciation cost, and the unit labor cost is the unit value added. Summing value added per unit over all units sold is total value added. Total value added is equivalent to revenue less intermediate consumption. Value added is a higher portion of revenue for integrated companies, e.g., manufacturing companies, and a lower portion of revenue for less integrated companies, e.g., retail companies. Total value added is very closely approximated by compensation of employees plus earnings before taxes. The first component is a return to labor and the second component is a return to capital. In national accounts used in macroeconomics, it refers to the contribution of the factors of production, i.e., capital and labor, to raising the value of a product and corresponds to the incomes received by the owners of these factors. The national value added is shared between capital and labor, and this sharing gives rise to issues of distribution.

Key formulae are:

GDP(gross domestic product) at market price = value of output in an economy in the particular year minus intermediate consumption

Intermediate consumption is an economic concept used in national accounts, such as the United Nations System of National Accounts (UNSNA), the US National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) and the European System of Accounts (ESA).

GDP at factor cost = GDP at market price minus depreciation plus NFIA (net factor income from abroad) minus net indirect taxes(GNP)

NDP at factor cost = Compensation of employees plus net interest plus rental & royalty income plus profit of incorporated and unincorporated NDP at factor cost

Expenditure

The expenditure approach is basically an output accounting method. It focuses on finding the total output of a nation by finding the total amount of money spent. This is acceptable to economists, because, like income, the total value of all goods is equal to the total amount of money spent on goods. The basic formula for domestic output takes all the different areas in which money is spent within the region, and then combines them to find the total output.

where:
C = household consumption expenditures / personal consumption expenditures
I = gross private domestic investment
G = government consumption and gross investment expenditures
X = gross exports of goods and services
M = gross imports of goods and services

Gross private domestic investment is the measure of physical investment used in computing GDP in the measurement of nations' economic activity. This is an important component of GDP because it provides an indicator of the future productive capacity of the economy. It includes replacement purchases plus net additions to capital assets plus investments in inventories. From 2002-2011 it amounted to 14.9% of US GDP, and from 1945-2011 was 15.7% of GDP. Net investment is gross investment minus depreciation. Of the four categories of GDP it is by far the least stable.

Note: (X - M) is often written as XN or less commonly as NX, both stand for "net exports"

The names of the measures consist of one of the words "Gross" or "Net", followed by one of the words "National" or "Domestic", followed by one of the words "Product", "Income", or "Expenditure". All of these terms can be explained separately.

"Gross" means total product, regardless of the use to which it is subsequently put.
"Net" means "Gross" minus the amount that must be used to offset depreciation ie., wear-and-tear or obsolescence of the nation's fixed capital assets. "Net" gives an indication of how much product is actually available for consumption or new investment.
"Domestic" means the boundary is geographical: we are counting all goods and services produced within the country's borders, regardless of by whom.
"National" means the boundary is defined by citizenship (nationality). We count all goods and services produced by the nationals of the country (or businesses owned by them) regardless of where that production physically takes place.
The output of a French-owned cotton factory in Senegal counts as part of the Domestic figures for Senegal, but the National figures of France.
"Product", "Income", and "Expenditure" refer to the three counting methodologies explained earlier: the product, income, and expenditure approaches. However the terms are used loosely.
"Product" is the general term, often used when any of the three approaches was actually used. Sometimes the word "Product" is used and then some additional symbol or phrase to indicate the methodology; so, for instance, we get "Gross Domestic Product by income", "GDP (income)", "GDP(I)", and similar constructions.
"Income" specifically means that the income approach was used.
"Expenditure" specifically means that the expenditure approach was used.

Note that all three counting methods should in theory give the same final figure. However, in practice minor differences are obtained from the three methods for several reasons, including changes in inventory levels and errors in the statistics. One problem for instance is that goods in inventory have been produced (therefore included in Product), but not yet sold (therefore not yet included in Expenditure). Similar timing issues can also cause a slight discrepancy between the value of goods produced (Product) and the payments to the factors that produced the goods (Income), particularly if inputs are purchased on credit, and also because wages are collected often after a period of production.

Gross domestic product and gross national product

Gross domestic product (GDP) is defined as "the value of all final goods and services produced in a country in 1 year". [3]

Gross national product (GNP) is defined as "the market value of all goods and services produced in one year by labour and property supplied by the residents of a country." [4]

As an example, the table below shows some GDP and GNP, and NNI data for the United States: [5]

National income and output (billions of dollars)
Period ending2003
Gross national product11,063.3
  Net U.S. income receipts from rest of the world55.2
     U.S. income receipts329.1
     U.S. income payments-273.9
Gross domestic product11,008.1
  Private consumption of fixed capital1,135.9
  Government consumption of fixed capital218.1
  Statistical discrepancy25.6
National income9,679.7

National income and welfare

GDP per capita (per person) is often used as a measure of a person's welfare. Countries with higher GDP may be more likely to also score high on other measures of welfare, such as life expectancy. However, there are serious limitations to the usefulness of GDP as a measure of welfare:

Because of this, other measures of welfare such as the Human Development Index (HDI), Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW), Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), gross national happiness (GNH), and sustainable national income (SNI) are used. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

In economics, the GDP deflator is a measure of the level of prices of all new, domestically produced, final goods and services in an economy in a year. GDP stands for gross domestic product, the total monetary value of all final goods and services produced within the territory of a country over a particular period of time.

Private Product Remaining or PPR is a means of national income accounting similar to the more commonly encountered GNP. Since government is financed through taxation and any resulting output is not (usually) sold on the market, what value is ascribed to it is disputed, and it is counted in GNP. Murray Rothbard developed the GPP and PPR measures. GPP is GNP minus income originating in government and government enterprises. PPR is GPP minus the higher of government expenditures and tax revenues plus interest received.

Output in economics is the "quantity of goods or services produced in a given time period, by a firm, industry, or country", whether consumed or used for further production. The concept of national output is essential in the field of macroeconomics. It is national output that makes a country rich, not large amounts of money.

The national income and product accounts (NIPA) are part of the national accounts of the United States. They are produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce. They are one of the main sources of data on general economic activity in the United States.

An open economy is a type of economy where the domestic community and out have trade in products. Trade can take the form of managerial exchange, technology transfers, and all kinds of goods and services.

The gross national income (GNI), previously known as gross national product (GNP), is the total domestic and foreign output claimed by residents of a country, consisting of gross domestic product (GDP), plus factor incomes earned by foreign residents, minus income earned in the domestic economy by nonresidents. Comparing GNI to GDP shows the degree to which a nation's GDP represents domestic or international activity. GNI has gradually replaced GNP in international statistics. While being conceptually identical, it is calculated differently. GNI is the basis of calculation of the largest part of contributions to the budget of the European Union. In February 2017, Ireland's GDP became so distorted from the base erosion and profit shifting ("BEPS") tax planning tools of U.S. multinationals, that the Central Bank of Ireland replaced Irish GDP with a new metric, Irish Modified GNI*. In 2017, Irish GDP was 162% of Irish Modified GNI*.

Net national product (NNP) refers to gross national product (GNP), i.e. the total market value of all final goods and services produced by the factors of production of a country or other polity during a given time period, minus depreciation. Similarly, net domestic product (NDP) corresponds to gross domestic product (GDP) minus depreciation. Depreciation describes the devaluation of fixed capital through wear and tear associated with its use in productive activities.

The net domestic product (NDP) equals the gross domestic product (GDP) minus depreciation on a country's capital goods.

In economics, aggregate expenditure (AE) is a measure of national income. Aggregate expenditure is defined as the current value of all the finished goods and services in the economy. The aggregate expenditure is thus the sum total of all the expenditures undertaken in the economy by the factors during a given time period. It is the expenditure incurred on consumer goods, planned investment and the expenditure made by the government in the economy. In an open economy scenario, aggregate expenditure also includes the difference between the exports and the imports.

Gross fixed capital formation

Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) is a macroeconomic concept used in official national accounts such as the United Nations System of National Accounts (UNSNA), National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) and the European System of Accounts (ESA). The concept dates back to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) studies of Simon Kuznets of capital formation in the 1930s, and standard measures for it were adopted in the 1950s. Statistically it measures the value of acquisitions of new or existing fixed assets by the business sector, governments and "pure" households less disposals of fixed assets. GFCF is a component of the expenditure on gross domestic product (GDP), and thus shows something about how much of the new value added in the economy is invested rather than consumed.

In economics, gross output (GO) is the measure of total economic activity in the production of new goods and services in an accounting period. It is a much broader measure of the economy than gross domestic product (GDP), which is limited mainly to final output. As of first-quarter 2019, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated gross output in the United States to be $37.2 trillion, compared to $21.1 trillion for GDP.

Operating surplus is an accounting concept used in national accounts statistics and in corporate and government accounts. It is the balancing item of the Generation of Income Account in the UNSNA. It may be used in macro-economics as a proxy for total pre-tax profit income, although entrepreneurial income may provide a better measure of business profits. According to the 2008 SNA, it is the measure of the surplus accruing from production before deducting property income, e.g., land rent and interest.

Net output is an accounting concept used in national accounts such as the United Nations System of National Accounts (UNSNA) and the NIPAs, and sometimes in corporate or government accounts. The concept was originally invented to measure the total net addition to a country's stock of wealth created by production during an accounting interval. The concept of net output is basically "gross revenue from production less the value of goods and services used up in that production". The idea is that if one deducts intermediate expenditures from the annual flow of income generated by production, one obtains a measure of the net new value in the new products created.

Aggregate income is the total of all incomes in an economy without adjustments for inflation, taxation, or types of double counting. Aggregate income is a form of GDP that is equal to Consumption expenditure plus net profits. 'Aggregate income' in economics is a broad conceptual term. It may express the proceeds from total output in the economy for producers of that output. There are a number of ways to measure aggregate income, but GDP is one of the best known and most widely used.

In economics, gross value added (GVA) is the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy. In national accounts GVA is output minus intermediate consumption; it is a balancing item of the national accounts' production account.

United Kingdom National Accounts – The Blue Book

The annual United Kingdom National Accounts records and describes economic activity in the United Kingdom and as such is used by government, banks, academics and industries to formulate the economic and social policies and monitor the economic progress of the United Kingdom. It also allows international comparisons to be made. The Blue Book is published by the UK Office for National Statistics alongside the United Kingdom Balance of Payments – The Pink Book.

References

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Concepts, Sources and Methods, Chap. 4, "Economic concepts and the national accounts", "Production", "The production boundary". Retrieved November 2015.
  2. E.g., William Petty (1665), Gregory King (1688); and, in France, Boisguillebert and Vauban. Australia's National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2000. Chapter 1; heading: Brief history of economic accounts (retrieved November 2009).
  3. Australian Council of Trade Unions, APHEDA, Glossary, accessed November 2009.
  4. United States, of the United States], p 5; retrieved November 2009.
  5. U.S Federal Reserve, the link appears to be dead as of late 2009
  6. Penn State Glossary
  7. England, R. W. (1998). Measurement of social well-being: alternatives to gross domestic product. Ecological Economics, 25(1), 89-103.

Bibliography