Gross National Product: An Alternative Measure of Output
While GDP represents the most commonly used measure of an economy’s output, economists sometimes use an alternative measure. Gross National Product (GNP) is the total value of final goods and services produced during a particular period with factors of production owned by the residents of a particular country.
The difference between GDP and GNP is a subtle one. The GDP of a country equals the value of final output produced within the borders of that country; the GNP of a country equals the value of final output produced using factors owned by residents of the country. Most production in a country employs factors of production owned by residents of that country, so the two measures overlap. Differences between the two measures emerge when production in one country employs factors of production owned by residents of other countries.
Suppose, for example, that a resident of Bellingham, Washington, owns and operates a watch repair shop across the Canadian–U.S. border in Victoria, British Columbia. The value of watch repair services produced at the shop would be counted as part of Canada’s GDP because they are produced in Canada. That value would not, however, be part of U.S. GDP. But, because the watch repair services were produced using capital and labor provided by a resident of the United States, they would be counted as part of GNP in the United States and not as part of GNP in Canada.
Because most production fits in both a country’s GDP as well as its GNP, there is seldom much difference between the two measures. The relationship between GDP and GNP is given by
GDP + net income received from abroad by residents of a nation = GNP
In the third quarter of 2008, for example, GDP equaled $14,220.5 billion. We add income receipts earned by residents of the United States from the rest of the world of $805.8 billion and then subtract income payments that went from the United States to the rest of the world of $688.4 billion to get GNP of $14,538.0 billion for the third quarter of 2008. GNP is often used in international comparisons of income; we shall examine those later in this module.
Self Check: GDP and Income
Answer the question(s) below to see how well you understand the topics covered in the previous section. This short quiz does not count toward your grade in the class, and you can retake it an unlimited number of times.
You’ll have more success on the Self Check if you’ve completed the two Readings in this section.
Use this quiz to check your understanding and decide whether to (1) study the previous section further or (2) move on to the next section.