# Gross domestic product (GDP)

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on July 9, 2024.

### Definition

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a fundamental economic indicator that measures the total value of all goods and services produced within a country’s borders over a specific period, usually a quarter or a year.

### What is gross domestic product?

Gross domestic product is often used as a gauge of a country’s economic health and the overall size of its economy. ItÂ quantifies the economic output of a country by summing up the value of all final goods and services produced within its territory. This includes goods like cars, electronics, and agricultural products, as well as services like healthcare, education, and financial services.

GDP can be divided into several components, including consumption (personal spending), investment (business spending and capital formation), government spending (public sector expenditures), and net exports (exports minus imports).

Changes in GDP over time can indicate the direction and strength of an economy’s growth. A rising GDP often suggests economic expansion, while a declining GDP may indicate economic contraction.

Furthermore, GDP is commonly used to compare the economic size and performance of different countries. It helps identify the world’s largest economies and assess their relative strengths.

While GDP is a significant measure, it has limitations. It doesn’t capture non-market activities, the distribution of income, informal economies, or factors like environmental sustainability and overall well-being.

##### How to calculate GDP

There are two primary methods to calculate GDP: the expenditure approach and the income approach.

1. Expenditure approach: GDP is calculated by adding up all spending on final goods and services within an economy. This includes consumer spending (C), business investment (I), government spending (G), and net exports (exports – imports) (NX).
2. Income approach: GDP is calculated by adding up all incomes earned by individuals and businesses in the economy. This includes wages, rents, interest, and profits.

Both methods should yield the same GDP figure, providing a comprehensive measure of a country’s economic activity.

##### Real GDP vs. nominal GDP

Real GDP and nominal GDP are measures used to assess a country’s economic performance, but they differ in their calculations. Nominal GDP represents the total value of goods and services produced in an economy at current market prices during a specific period. It includes inflationary effects, making it susceptible to price changes over time.

In contrast, real GDP adjusts nominal GDP to remove the effects of inflation, providing a more accurate measure of an economy’s growth or contraction in real terms. Real GDP is used to compare economic output across different time periods, accounting for changes in purchasing power.

##### GDP vs. GNP vs. GNI

Gross domestic product (GDP, gross national product (GNP), and gross national income (GNI) are measures used to assess the economic performance of countries, but they differ in scope.

GDP measures the total value of goods and services produced within a country’s borders over a specific period. GNP includes GDP plus income earned by residents from overseas investments minus income earned within the country by foreign residents. GNI expands on GNP by including net income receipts from abroad, such as wages and profits earned by residents and businesses outside the country.

### Example of gross domestic product

Let’s consider Country XYZ’s GDP for the year 2023. In this hypothetical scenario, we’ll simplify the calculation to include three main components:

1. Consumption (C):Â£5,000,000 spent on cars, clothing, and food.
2. Investment (I): Â£2,000,000 spent on new machinery for manufacturing.
3. Government spending (G): Â£1,500,000 spent on infrastructure projects.
4. Net exports (Exports – imports): Net exports contribute Â£500,000 (exports of goods and services minus imports).

GDP = Â£5,000,000 + Â£2,000,000 + Â£1,500,000 + Â£500,000 = Â£9,000,000

In this example, Country XYZ’s GDP for the year 2023 is Â£9,000,000. This represents the total value of goods and services produced within the country’s borders during that specific period.