# Lesson Five. Introduction. National Income Accounting

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1 Lesson Five National Income Accounting Introduction National Income Accounting broadly refers to all the methods used to measure and evaluate economic activity. This diagnostic information about the health of our economy helps us formulate appropriate policy usually fi scal or monetary policy. Through this, the government exerts a counter- cyclical approach where government stimulates the economy during recession and attempts to slow the economy during infl ation.

2 LEARNING OBJECTIVES Please note the listed objectives. As you will see, the course materials are all objective driven. This provides you with a constant way to direct and monitor your progress throughout the course. Each objective is colorcoded and corresponds to that particular section in the text. OBJECTIVE ONE 1 Define GDP, describe the value added concept of GDP and contrast GDP with GNP. OBJECTIVE TWO 2 Calculate GDP using the Expenditure Approach and explain the significance of each component in the calculation. OBJECTIVE THREE 3 Calculate GDP using the Income Approach and explain the significance of each component in the calculation. OBJECTIVE FOUR 4 Create a Price Index, use it to adjust for Inflation, and explain the importance of that adjustment using the appropriate terms. OBJECTIVE FIVE 5 Describe the limitations of GDP as a measure of wellbeing and the importance of the Social Accounts. INTERACTIVE EXERCISE Use the Major Economic Models to demonstrate an understanding of the chain reactions resulting from human choices and how they move through an economy. Demonstrate an understanding of the Tradeoffs that result

3 Specifically, we use National Income Accounting to: Measure and describe economic activity. Compare data with past performance. Compare our economy with other nations. Provide information to evaluate economic policy. GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT Gross domestic product (GDP) is the largest aggregate measure of economic activity. GDP is the monetary value of all final goods and services produced in the nation within a year. GDP reflects the cost or price of an item to the final user and can be measured at the sale to the end user and not at any one point before the sale. GDP is measured as the cost to the final user or the total value added at each stage for participants in production. The sum of income for each stage results in the cost to the end user of the product. To illustrate value added, assume a consumer purchases an oak rocking chair from a furniture store for \$495. This cost to the final user is equal to the value added to an economy from this new production at each stage. Figure 5.1 In Figure 5.1, the farmer cut the lumber and added value by selling it for \$100 to the craftsman. The craftsman built the chair from the lumber, which cost him \$100, and sold the chair for \$250. The craftsman added a value of \$150 to the economy. The wholesaler paid \$250 and sold the chair for \$350, adding 100 Page 3

4 \$100 of value. Finally, the retailer bought the chair for \$350 and sold it for \$495, adding \$145 in value. The sum of the value added at all stages of production is the cost to the final user. The craftsman added a value of \$150 to the economy. The wholesaler paid \$250 and sold the chair for \$350, adding \$100 of value. Finally, the retailer bought the chair for \$350 and sold it for \$495, adding \$145 in value. The sum of the value added at all stages of production is the cost to the final user. Notice in the example above that only by summing the value added at each stage do we obtain the national output cost to the final user (\$495). If we added the value paid at each stage, we would be double counting because we would be including values already counted. Counting the value at each stage yields the value of intermediate goods rather than the value for its final use. As an example of a final use vs. intermediate use, consider the purchase of fuel, seed and fertilizer by a wheat farmer. These purchases are intermediate costs that will be included in the final price of the wheat but will not be included as a final product until the product is sold to the final user. THE RULES FOR GDP Although new production is measured at value added or cost to the final user, many transactions are NOT counted in GDP. GDP includes all new goods and services produced in a year but does not include used products that are resold. The sale of used items does not represent new production. GDP also does not include non-production transactions, such as financial transactions or public or private gifts. Stocks sold are exchanges of ownership and do not constitute a change in production. However, any commissions on the sale of used goods, as well as commissions on financial transactions, are counted in the GDP as cost of services. GNP AND GDP GDP and gross national product (GNP) are two different measures of the aggregate activity of an economy. While GDP is a measure of total output for a nation, GNP is a measure of what is produced by Americans throughout the world. Since many Americans work outside of the United States, the GNP accounts for the aggregate of all goods and services produced by Americans regardless of location. 101

5 TWO SIDES TO GDP EXPENDITURE The expenditure approach to GDP is a calculation that accumulates output for each of the four major sectors of an economy. The four major sectors are: consumers, investors, government and foreign. The formula for the expenditures approach is: Figure 5.2 Personal consumption expenditure (PCE) is the spending by households on all final goods and services but does not include purchases of new homes because such purchases are counted as investment goods. Gross private domestic investment (GPDI) is the amount of all business investments added to an economy and includes both replacing what equipment was depreciated (used) and new investment in capital goods and inventories as well as new homes. Government spending at all levels (G) includes government consumption, government investment and transfer payments, such as Social Security. Net exports are the amount of products and services that foreigners buy from our economy (exports) less what we bought from their economy (imports). Investment is the amount of funds spent by businesses for new plants and equipment as well as increases in inventory accumulated during the year. Investment represents the amount of capital stock that was produced for businesses. This does not include stock market certificates that represent ownership and are bought and sold on stock exchanges nor does it include bonds that are debt contracts. GPDI includes new additions to the capital goods in our nation and the replacement of capital goods that have been worn out or made obsolete. Thus, in 102 Page 3

6 a growth economy, the amount of total new investment is more than what was used or destroyed. The amount destroyed is called consumption of fixed capital (CFC). The total investment or GPDI is for both replacement of destroyed capital (CFC) and new additions called net private domestic investment (NPDI). This is expressed in the equation: GPDI = NPDI + CFC Gross private domestic investment is net private domestic investment plus consumption of fixed capital. Total investment is the replacement of depreciated capital plus new additions or deletions to capital. In a growth economy, NPDI is positive, but in a constrictive economy, NPDI is negative. Thus, CFC must be replaced in order for investment to be greater than the previous year. Economies that are in a recession or decline will not have sufficient new investment to replace depreciated capital because investors are unwilling to put financial capital into a declining economy. New investment is put into an economy when profit expectations are high, not when there is a lack of confidence in the economy. Figure 5.3 Gross investment, depreciation, net investment and the stock of capital Net Investments Stock of Capital Depreciation Consumption and Government Expenditures Stock of Capital 103

7 Figure 5.4 THE INCOME APPROACH The Income Approach to gross national income (GNI) follows the flow of income to each sector of the economy and concludes with the GDP. The gross national income is equal to the gross domestic product as the sum of the income flow is equal to the cost of the goods and services at final use. GNI is the sum of all incomes of the production process, including payment for the factors of production as well as taxes and depreciation. Thus, GDP is equal to GNI, with each calculation arriving at the same value with one using products produced (GDP) and the other incomes generated (GNI). The U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) maintains the database for national income accounting for the U.S. government. These accounts are carefully calculated and compared with other economic data to assure reliability and validity. The following accounts are available to represent the fi rst quarter of 2007 for the U.S. economy (Figure 5.5). The data in Figure 5.5 is an accurate description of the American GDP and its expenditure components in The value of each sector represents its importance relative to the total for the nation. GDP for the United States is \$13.6 trillion, and this is greater than for any other nation. China and Japan are the second and third largest economies in the world, each with a GDP about half of that for the United States. 104 Page 3

8 Figure 5.5 Gross Domestic Product Personal Consumption Expenditure Durable Goods Non Durable Goods Services Gross Private Domestic Investment Fixed Investment Nonresidential Structures Equipment & Software Residential Change in Private Inventories Net Exports Exports of Goods Exports of Services Import of Goods Import of Services Gov t Consumption Expentitures Federal National Defense Federal non Defense State and Local Spending in Billions The allocations among GDP are widely varied. Consumers purchases account for about 70 percent of the total GDP, while government expenditures account for a much smaller amount about 20 percent and investment expenditures account for only 16 percent. The role of investment is essential for capital formation and growth. However, the foreign sector, in its present state, presents a unique problem, yielding a decrease in total output because our exports are less than our imports. The history and implications of the balance of trade (exports less imports) will be discussed in a later lesson. The personal consumption expenditure (PCE) is the total expenditures of consumers and is the largest component of the economy. Increases or decreases in PCE affect employment, income and output significantly. Businesses expand production when consumers increase spending and contract production when consumers decrease spending. 105

9 GPDI is the most important sector determining the future direction of economic activity. When investment is strong, momentum is built for future expansion in income, employment and output. Economists examine changes in GDPI to predict future economic growth or recession. The net export (Xn) is ex ports minus imports. This sector is growing in importance for the American economy. Currently the United States imports about \$800 billion more in goods and services than it exports, thereby resulting in a decrease in GDP. This Figure 5.6 imbalance does pose a problem in the longer term unless changes are made. See the chart above, showing nations with deficits (imports > exports) and nations with a surplus (exports > imports). INFLATION Inflation of economic values is an increase in the general price level of an economy. Just as individuals experience inflation in the cost of products, the economy in general tends to experience a rise in prices over time. Inflated values must be adjusted to real values to make comparisons. Real values in national income accounting are those that have been adjusted to remove the impact of inflation so meaningful comparisons of the value of goods can be made. The price index, as compiled by the BEA, is the measure of inflation used by the government to compute real values. PRICE INDEX Price indices are calculated by comparing output prices for a given year to prices for the same output at a specifi c year, called the base year. In order to take out the effect of infl ation, an adjustment must be made for price changes. For example, assume a basket of food goods costs \$200 in the base year, 2000, and in 2001 the same goods cost \$202; the price has 106 Page 3

10 increased by \$2 from a base of \$200 to \$202, yielding an increase of 2/200 or 1percent. The price index in 2001 is 101, as shown in Figure 5.7. Figure 5.7 X 100 = Price Index in Given Year X 100 = 101 Thus the price index has increased by 1% or and index value from 100 in 2000 to 101 in An application of the calculation of a price index is given below for a base year of 2000 through A further application of this concept can be illustrated showing adjustments to output, such as gross domestic product accounts. The price index for a group of specific goods in 2002 compared to the same goods in the base year 2000 can be calculated. This value is found by first examining the output of the specific goods (prices times quantity produced during 2000) to find the total cost at the base year. Then the total cost of the specific goods in 2002 is computed (prices times goods produced). Figure 5.8 In Figure 5.8, the price index base year is 2000 and the price of apples is \$1 each. However, in 2001, the price of apples has increased to \$2, which means that the base year 2000 price index has doubled from the base of 100 to a value of 200. Therefore, prices have doubled (200/100 2). The nominal GDP is the value of output produced in a specific year at the price level of that year. The nominal GDP in 2001 is 20 units at a new price of \$2 with a GDP of \$40. However, adjusted for inflation, this value must be reduced if a comparison with constant or real value is to be determined. Real values take out the impact of inflation. Prices between 2000 and 2001 have doubled, so the GDP value of 40 must be divided by the price index 107

11 of 200 to find an adjusted or constant dollar value of 20. The nominal GDP comparison between the two years was an increase from \$10 to \$40, but this did not adjust for the doubling of prices so the adjusted or real GDP was \$40/ or a real value of \$20. Output has doubled and, therefore, the increase in prices taken out and real GDP has increased from \$10 to \$20 in real terms. These same adjustments are made to the aggregate output of the nation, as shown in Figure 5.8. Figure 5.9 PRICE ADJUSTMENTS TO GDP The 2005 GDP was \$ trillion in nominal terms and it was \$ in Does this mean that the economy grew by \$ \$ or \$791 billion? In nominal terms, the answer to this question is yes, but the value adjusted for inflation requires further adjustment for price changes (inflation). CONSUMER PRICE INDEX The price index used above is the consumer price index (CPI) as computed by the Department of Commerce for a basket of goods and services purchased by an average family in an urban setting. For more information on the CPI, visit Notice that on this website, a calculator is available to adjust any past value to a current price. If you input \$100 in the base year 1980, you will find that these funds in 1980 would be worth about \$250 today. Prices have increased on average by a factor of 2.5, so that a dollar in 1980 is worth \$2.50 today. An increase of \$791 in GDP must be adjusted for inflation to make constant comparisons. The \$791 increase must be divided by the price index, so the real value in 2005 is and in Therefore, the amount of the real increase (after adjusting for inflation) is \$228 rather than the nominal increase of \$ Page 3

12 Figure 5.10 The information on adjusting for inflation can be summarized by restating some of the information above. Real GDP is the value of GDP in constant dollars without inflation. Such a GDP value is termed constant dollars, real dollars or adjusted GDP. Over time, the general price level changes due to changes in prices. Inflation is a rise in the general price level. Adjustments for these changes can be made to remove the impact of inflation. This real value is calculated by dividing the nominal (unadjusted or current dollar value) value by the price index for that year times 100. The income of an individual can also be adjusted for purchasing power through this same process. Consider that you were making \$40,000 in income in 2005 and you are making \$44,000 in income in How much has your income increased in real terms? Assume the price index of the CPI has increased from to or a change of 2.6 percent ( , then 5.2/ ). To adjust your income of \$44,000 to base year values in 2005, you would compare values of \$40,000/197.4 \$20,263 and \$44,000/202.6 \$21,718. Therefore, in real price index terms, your real income increased by \$1,455. Notice that your income increased in nominal terms by \$4,000 or 10 percent and inflation increased by 2.6 percent. You would hope your income increased by a similar percentage as inflation. Because individual income has social implications, other means of analyzing income changes over time have been developed. THE SOCIAL ACCOUNTS The social accounts are another way of measuring national income. In this approach, the major economic accounts are described with values beginning with the largest GDP and considering social influences in lesser sums 109

13 until the resulting personal savings is listed. The social accounts measures the well-being of a nation s economy based on all allocations of resources by society. Figure 5.11 The social accounts in Figure 5.11 provide a means for examining each of the components of gross domestic product that affects society. The following discussion explains the basis for the social accounts analysis of individual income. THE SOCIAL VALUES OF GDP The GDP less CFC is net domestic product (NDP). These fi gures measure the output less depreciation on a nation s capital goods. This measure is needed to estimate how much a nation must spend to continue current GDP. If capital consumed (CFC) is not replaced, then GDP will fall. A growing gap between GDP and NDP indicates increasing obsolescence of capital 110 Page 3

14 goods while a narrowing of the gap indicates that the condition of capital is improving. The CFC is important because it indicates whether the economy is increasing or decreasing its capital base. A growing economy will have more invested in new capital, NPDI, than is depreciated through consumption of fixed capital. The gross private domestic investment (GPDI) is the total amount of investment put into an economy, but the consumption of fixed capital (CFC) is the total used or depreciated. Therefore, NPDI is the amount of additions or deletions to investment. The next group of calculations derives personal income or the income people receive. The national income figure is reduced by income that individuals and businesses earn but are not allowed to keep as an income flow because it is retained in the business as undistributed profits or the funds are taxed away through Social Security insurance and corporate profit taxes. Other components of the social accounts indicate how GDP is being used. Net domestic product less indirect business tax (sales taxes) yields national income (NI). NI is the total income earned by sectors, including landowners (rent), capitalists (interest), labor (wages and salaries) and entrepreneurs (profits). The national income figure is increased by the amount that people receive but did not earn in the year through production. This income flow is called transfer payments and consists of veterans payments, welfare and Social Security payments. National income less income earned but not received plus transfer payments equals the amount of funds available to individuals as personal income. From the personal income figure, disposable income is found by subtracting required payments of personal taxes. The disposable income figure represents the funds that individuals have available for uses after taxes have been paid. Finally, from the disposable income number, personal consumption expenditure (the C in the expenditures model used to calculate GDP) is subtracted to arrive at savings by all individuals within our economy. The amount of funds left for savings is critical within an economy because it represents the funds available for investment back into the economy for capital goods. 111

15 SHORTCOMINGS OF GDP There are many shortcomings of gross domestic product when it is used to measure economic well-being. Many people think of the GDP number as being solely representative of how well people live but this is not completely accurate. The quantity of goods and services is, at best, only a partial representation. Numerous studies have tried to modify this number to better measure a quality of life index but no common consensus has been reached on a substitute measure. One problem is that GDP does not consider byproducts. One of the byproducts of GDP is the amount of pollution produced by an economy to obtain goods and services. This is the negative externality or negative spillover from the GDP production process. The amount of leisure time for individuals is also an important measure of social welfare but is not considered in GDP calculations. Americans work more hours per week than people in any other culture. Although Americans today may work fewer hours than their great-grandparents, the GDP does not adjust for this difference. Another factor not considered in GDP is the quality of products produced. GDP measures only an aggregate of price times quantity produced but not the resulting utility to consumers. Today s cars are better made than those manufactured 30 years ago, yet there is no consideration given to the quality of products. Another shortcoming involves productivity that we cannot measure. Maintaining a household, cooking, cleaning, making home repairs and caring for children are all productive activities but are not really measurable. Certainly, one could make a case that such activity is valuable for a society, but it is difficult to measure in terms of a benchmark of economic activity. Further, many unreported economic activities are not calculated, such as individuals working for cash unreported to the Internal Revenue Service. This so-called underground economy is not measured but includes economic activities that are often illegal but unreported. All these social considerations are important to our economy, involve value judgments and are very difficult to quantify or measure. These qualitative 112 Page 3

16 judgments the quality of life vs. quantity of life have long been an issue in economic discussions. That debate among students and policymakers continues. The quantity (goods consumed) of life is not a measure of happiness, which seems to be well recognized in other parts of the world. Figure

17 Real-World Economics In our system of national income accounting, GDP is largely a price times quantity fi gure it makes no qualitative judgments about our lives and how they may be improving. Please access links through online E-text. 114

18 Key Terms Lesson Five Adjusted GDP: GDP date adjusted for price changes by using the price index. Base Year: The arbitrary beginning year or benchmark for any statistical index. Consumer Price Index: A measure of price changes in our economy during a given period by tracing the prices of a predetermined number of consumer items. Consumption of Fixed Capital: Replacing worn-out capital depreciation. Expenditure GDP: The total of all categories in the economy, including consumers, businesses, government and net exports. Gross Domestic Product: The total, final sales price of all goods and services produced in our economy in one year. GDP measures only domestic production (inside U.S territory). Gross National Product: A measure of production for all American firms throughout the world. spending for depreciation and new capital in a given year. Indirect Business Tax: A correction that is made to expenditure GDP to account for sales taxes that are collected at the point of final sale, which is a more accurate measure for the final price. Personal consumption: The total spending of all consumers in the U.S. economy, which makes up about two-thirds of all consumption in a given year. National Income Accounting: Measurers of economic activity and monetary flows that track changes in spending and impact on the business cycle. Net Domestic Product: Overall GDP corrected for depreciation or the consumption of fixed capital. Net Exports: A comparison of monetary flows as goods are imported and exported and the economic impact. Gross Private Domestic Investment (GPDI): Total, business investment 115

19 Key Terms Lesson Five Net Private Domestic Investment (NPDI): Spending on new capital equipment in a given year. Personal Income: Personal income minus personal income tax leaves the consumer with disposable income. Price Index: A percentage comparison from a fixed point of reference (base year) that adjusts for price changes. Social Accounts: The accounting of income as generated from expenditure GDP. Unadjusted GDP: A price times quantity figure with no adjustment made for price changes inflation or deflation. Underground Economy: Unreported economic activity and income, usually with the intent to evade taxes on that income. 116

20 Applied Exercises Exercise One: Given the following national income accounts, compute the values requested below. A: What is GDP? B: Calculate NDP. C: What is National Income? Exercise Two: Given the following national income accounts, compute the values requested below. A: The purchase of Exxon Mobil common stock. B: The purchase of a new car. C: The purchase of a used textbook. D: The sale of a factory to a new company. E: An increase in the hours worked throughout the United States. F: A gift to a son by his family. G: Rent paid for a business building. H: Social Security payment to a retired worker. 117

21 Applied Exercises: Answers Exercise One: A: C I G Xn B: NDP GDP CFC C: National Income NDP Net Foreign Factor Income Earned in United States Indirect Business Taxes Exercise Two: Excluded: A, C, D, E, F; Included: B, G 118

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