Gross Domestic Product

Read this section, which explains Gross Domestic Product. The GDP is the dollar value of goods and services produced in a given country in a year. What is the significance of GDP as an economic indicator?

Example: the Expenditure Approach

The expenditure approach only measures products that are intended to be sold. If you knit yourself a sweater, it is production but does not get counted as GDP because it is never sold. Components of GDP by expenditure are:

consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)

Note: In the expenditure-method equation given above, the exports-minus-imports term is necessary in order to null out expenditures on things not produced in the country (imports) and add in things produced but not sold in the country (exports).

Consumption is normally the largest GDP component in the economy. Consumables fall under one of the following categories: durable goods, nondurable goods, and services. Examples include food, rent, jewelry, gasoline, and medical expenses.

Examples of investment include the construction of a new mine, purchase of software, or purchase of equipment for a factory. Spending by households on items like new houses is also included in investment. Buying financial products is classed as saving, as opposed to investment.

Government spending is the sum of government expenditures on final goods and services. It includes salaries of public servants, the purchase of weapons for the military, and any investment expenditure by a government. It does not include any transfer payments like social security or unemployment benefits.