Median income for households in the United States rose to $52,762 in 2011 from $49,445 in 2010. (www.census.gov).
|Section 1: Gross Domestic Product|
|Macroeconomics - Unit 3|
The definition of Gross Domestic Product
Real GDP is a more meaningful statistic for a country because it measures the actual quantity of final goods and services a country produces. See also section 3 in this unit for more examples of the difference between nominal and real GDP.
What is Included and What is Excluded in the Calculation of GDP?
All legally produced final goods and services produced for purchase by consumers, businesses, the government, and other countries, as well as changes in business inventories, are included in the calculation of Gross Domestic Product. Final products are those that are consumed or used in their final stage. For example, a car is a final product. The opposite of a final product is an intermediate product. A tire bought by Chrysler used in the production of its cars and trucks is an intermediate good. The ultimate purchase of the tire is not as a tire, but as part of a final product (the car). On the other hand, if a consumer buys a tire to replace a tire on an existing car, then the tire is considered a final product and it is included in GDP.
The following products are excluded in the calculation of GDP:
2. Used products.
Any good produced in another year, even though it is sold in the current one, is not included. For instance, a used car produced and sold in 2005, but resold today, is not included in today's GDP because the actual production did not take place in this year. The commission of the used car dealer, however, is included, because that is a productive service provided this year. Another example of a good that can be sold in one year but produced in a previous year is an inventory item. If Ford produces a car this year, but does not sell it until next year, it is included in this year's GDP, and not in next year's GDP. However, the Ford car dealer's commission from the sale of the car is included in next year's GDP.
3. Financial transactions.
Any transaction not directly representing production is excluded. Examples are financial transactions such as the purchase of stocks, bonds, mortgage securities and credit default swaps. The commission a stockbroker earns on the sale of financial instruments is included in GDP. Government expenditures on welfare and other transfer programs are excluded, as well.
4. Non-reported transactions.
Products, which are difficult to measure, or which are illegal, are excluded. Examples are do-it-yourself household activities, services not reported as income to the government, prostitution, drug trade, and other so-called underground market activities.
5. Barter trade.
Barter trade occurs when people exchange products for other products without payment of money. Examples are barbers exchanging haircuts for legal advise with their lawyers or hotel chains exchanging hotel services for airline tickets with airline firms. Some barter trade (especially between large firms) is included, but only if the firms report their economic activities to the government.
The Components of GDP
The following spending components are included in GDP:
Goods and services bought by households are called Consumption (C). Examples of typical consumption goods and services include cars, computers, electronics, haircuts, banking services, and college courses.
2. Gross private domestic investment.
Goods and services bought by businesses are called Gross Private Domestic Investment (I). Examples include computers purchased by businesses, forklifts, trucks, business supplies, and buildings. The investment category also includes purchases of new residential homes and changes in business inventories.
3. Government expenditures.
Final products purchased by the government are called government expenditures (G). Examples include weapons, airplanes, construction materials for building roads and highways, and government office supplies.
4. Net exports.
When other countries purchase our final products, they are called Net Exports (X). The components C, I, and G include the consumption of domestically, as well as foreign-produced products. Because Gross Domestic Product measures only production of domestically produced products, net exports must subtract foreign-produced products. Therefore, net exports equals exports minus imports.
The table below (http://www.bea.gov) shows the breakdown into the components of United States nominal GDP for the 2008 through 2012 (annualized and seasonally adjusted in billions of dollars). All components of GDP decreased between 2008 and 2009 (except for government spending), because of the recession that started in the third quarter of 2008. After 2009, the amounts increased in most categories.
* Percentages of the four GDP components may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Is Two-thirds of Our Economy Consumption?
The table above indicates that more than two-thirds of our final production is consumption. This makes many economists conclude that consumption primarily drives the economy, and that if we primarily stimulate consumption in our economy, then production, employment, and earnings will increase, as well. This conclusion is deceiving, however. The definition of GDP only includes final products. But this is merely a definition. In the real world, many other products, in particular intermediate products, are produced. These products also contribute to a significant amount of production, employment, and earnings.
The economist George Reisman agrees. In his impressive book, Capitalism, he argues that all intermediate goods and all capital goods should be included in the calculation of GDP in order to accurately reflect the importance of all production in our economy. Too much emphasis is placed upon consumer products in the calculation of GDP. Because of the over-emphasis on consumption in our economy, our government has adopted spending and taxation policies that favor consumption and discourage savings (for example, the taxing of interest from savings). Lower savings lead to fewer funds available for investments to purchase and produce capital goods. As the production possibilities model in our Unit 1 shows, the fewer capital goods we have, the less capacity we have to produce products (both capital and consumer) in the future. This will actually lead to a decrease in our long-term economic growth.
Reisman suggests that we adopt a measure called "Gross National Revenue." This would include the production of all products, including intermediate products, to more accurately reflect economic activities in the actual economy.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 December 2012 12:08|