Chapter 8: Measuring The Economy’s Performance

This chapter concerns about measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP), and the price level. Macroeconomic measurement is important to government policymakers for the same reasons familiar to managers of businesses. It gives them hints about the economic health of the nation and to formulate policies that can make the economy stable. The chapter introduces National Income Accounting (NIA) and its importance in determining national income. It shows the difference between the expenditure and income approaches to determine the nation’s GDP. The basis for National income Accounting is the circular flow model of income and output. In the expenditure approach, the importance of investment is considered with emphasis, including the nature of investment, the distinction between gross and net investment, the role of inventory changes, and the net impact on economic growth. On the income side, non-income charges (depreciation and indirect business taxes) are added. The concepts of real versus nominal GDP will be discussed.

Circular flow model of income and product

In fact, in this model it is described both private sector and public sector of the economy. The private sector includes household members and firms or business sector and the public sector is the government.

In the circular flow model, households are resource owners and they sell their resources to business sector (firms), and in return they receive resource payments. This interaction will occur in the factor market.

Households as consumers, will demand goods and services sold by the business sector and they spend all of their income which came from the sale of their resources to business sector. This market is called the product market that takes place in the upper part of the circular flow model. Therefore, in this economic exchange the seller receives exactly the same amount that the buyer spends.

Why total income equals total output?

Since total output is the value of all final goods produced and sold in the economy and total income is all the income received from producing that output, they must be equal.

In the model profits are considered a part of costs since entrepreneurs should get reward for providing their services. National Income Accounting (NIA) is a set of rules that provide a way of measuring the flows of income and expenditures in the economy over period of time. That is the goal of NIA is to measure the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total market value of all-final goods and services produced in a year within the borders of a nation regardless of who owns the productive resources. Gross National Product (GNP) measures the economic activity of the citizens and businesses of a country. So the economic activity of U.S. citizens working abroad is counted United States (U.S.) GNP but not in GDP. The difference is a net foreign factor income (NFFI). GDP + NFFI = GNP. That is the value of income earned by U.S. residents from factors of production located outside the United States and subtract the value of income earned by foreign residents from factors of production located inside the United States. We mean the term final goods and services is the goods and services that are available to the ultimate consumers (intermediate products are excluded) in order to avoid double counting. The market value also, we mean here, is their value at market price. There are certain cases where prices are not known and transactions are not observable (i.e. as illegal drugs homemakers’ services).

Limitations of National Income Accounting: GDP exclusions:

1- Private transactions are excluded: Government transfer payments( social security or cash welfare benefits) , private transfer payments(student allowances or alimony payments), the sale of stocks and bonds because they represent transfer of existing assets but the brokers’ services.

  1. Second hand sales are not counted in GDP because they do not represent current output.

3- Household services (house cleaning, childcare, meal preparation, home repair maintenance) are excluded

  1. Illegal and underground economic activities are not included in GDP, because these activities are not reported, for example, 7.5% of U.S. GDP in 1996 was underground economy.
  2. GDP also includes the imputed income from certain activities that do not valued at market price.
  3. Imputed rental income that homeowners received from homeownership( no rent is paid or received)
  4. Food produced for the farm family’s own consumption.
  5. Leisure time, quality, and variety of products; Quality and variety of products available have also improved over the years as a result of technological change and competition. These improvements are not included in GDP. That is the change in the quality of the existing products and changes in the availability of new products. GDP does not reflect all costs of some production and consumption degrades the quality of our environment.
  6. GDP accounting ignores the depletion of natural resources.

Buying and selling existing financial transactions because there is only an exchange of ownership rights without any productive activity involvement except for broker’s services.

The two basic approaches to calculate GDP are the expenditure approach and the income approach. The expenditure is the sum of the aggregate expenditure on all-final goods and services produced in a given year. The income approach is the sum of aggregate income earned by the owners of resources used to produce output in a given year.

Expenditure and income statement for the U.S. Economy using

Aggregate Expenditure U.S. billion dollars by 1997 and 1998 respectively.

Personal Consumption Expenditures (C ) $5,489 $5,659.4

Gross Private Domestic Investment( I ) 1,238 1,329.8

Government expenditure (G) 1,454 1,466.4

Net exports -97 -123.4

Income Approach ( allocation of income )

Wages( wages, salaries, compensation) $4,703 $4,901.4

Rents(all rental income + implicit rent) 148 142.8

Net Interest income paid by business 450 466.7


Proprietors’ Income 545 519.7

Corporate profits before taxes 804 701.3

Non-income Expense Items

Indirect business taxes 545 730.8

Depreciation 868 951.3

Statistical discrepancy 21 -79.8

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $8,084 $8,332.2

Corporate profits: a- corporate income taxes b- Dividends c- Undistributed corporate profits

Net exports = the value of exports – the value of imports. Government expenditures are the government purchases of goods and services. Government goods are valued at cost. Gross private domestic investment (I )= fixed investment Plus or minus changes in inventories( inventory investment).

Gross investment includes depreciation. Net investment = Gross investment – depreciation. Depreciation is a reduction in the value of capital goods over time due to their use in production and capital consumption allowance is the estimated value of depreciation plus the value of accidental damage to capital stock. However, the value of accidental damage is relatively small, so it is common to use the term capital consumption allowance as depreciation.

Proprietors’ income includes the earnings o unincorporated business( such as single ownership, partnership, i.e. lawyers, doctors, and so on). Rental income includes stores, apartment, farms, and imputed or implicit rental income ( the imputed rental value of owner-occupied housing minus the cost of owning that property such as property taxes, insurance, depreciation, and interest paid on the mortgages). Net interest income includes the net interest income paid by business to households and net interest paid to U.S. by foreigners.

Indirect business taxes include excise, sales and property taxes and consumers pay it therefore, it is a cost and therefore it should be added to GDP. Depreciation should be added to GDP because with it we have net domestic GDP( Net Domestic Product + depreciation =GDP).

Other components of National Income Accounting will be developed further here, since GDP does not tell about how much income people do have for spending purposes. In order to derive Disposable income, it has to make some adjustments.

Billions of Dollars by 1997 and 1998 respectively

Gross Domestic Product (GDP ) $8,084 $8,332.2

Minus Depreciation - 868 - 951.3


Net Domestic Product (NDP) 7,216 7,380.9


Net Foreign Factor Income (NFFI) - 21 -25.1

Indirect business taxes -545 -730.8


National Income (NI) 6,650 6,625.0

Minus Income currently earned but not received

Social security contributions( taxes) - 732 - 711.1

Corporate income taxes - 319 - 220.1

Undistributed corporate profits - 149 - 140.0

Plus government and business transfer payments +1,424 +1,573.1


Personal Income (PI ), including taxes 6,874 7,126.9

Minus personal income taxes -987 -1,032.4

Disposable personal Income 5,887 6,094.5

Net Domestic Product (NDP) = GDP – depreciation. National income (NI ) includes all income earned by American-owned resources, whether located at home or abroad. That is all resource factor payments to resource owners. This may be a negative number if foreigners earned more in U.S. than American resources earned abroad. Therefore, NI is derived by subtracting indirect business taxes and adds net American income earned abroad from NDP. Personal Income (PI) is income received by household members before personal income taxes deducted. Personal Income( PI) = National income (NI ) minus social security contributions(payroll taxes) minus corporate profit taxes minus undistributed corporate profits plus transfer payments( business and government transfer payments). Disposable income(DI) =personal income minus personal income taxes.

Nominal versus Real GDP: Nominal GDP is a measure of national output based on the current prices of goods and services. That is nominal GDP is calculated using the current prices prevailing when the output was produced. Real GDP is a measure that has been adjusted for price level changes (inflation rate).

GDP Price Deflator = ( Nominal GDP)/ (Real GDP)*100. The price index for the base year is always 100 because Nominal GDP and Real GDP are the same amount.





Chapter 9 Economic Growth: technology, Research and Development, and knowledge