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Terms Related to International Business - What are GDP and GNP?

Updated on June 15, 2013

Measuring the Economy

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Introduction

Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Product (GNP), and Purchase Power Parity (PPP) are economic tools used by governing officials and economists to measure and compare the overall productivity of each country. Economists devised these measures in order to gain a clear picture of each countries economic productivity and power and how that each nation's economic productivity and power compares to other countries around the world. This hub provides an introduction to the concepts of GDP, GNP, and PPP and how that relate to international business and global trade.

Definitions of GDP, GNP, and PPP

Satterlee (2009), Johnson (2005), and Moffatt (2013) provided the following definitions of gross domestic product, gross national product, and purchasing power parity:


Definition of Gross Domestic Product

Gross Domestic Product is the official measure of total output of goods and services in a nation's economy. More specifically, GDP is the total market value of all the goods and services produced within the borders of a nation during a specified time (usually reported in terms of a fiscal year).

GDP figures from around the world are most often reported in terms of US Dollars, as the USD is the currency currently used as the international monetary standard.

GDP figures are reported in a number of ways including: (a) GDP current USD; (b) GDP purchasing power parity (GDP PPP); (c) GDP per capita; (d) % GDP growth current USD; and (e) % GDP growth per capita.

GDP Purchasing Power Party is seen by many as the true barometer of economic stability and strength. GDP PPP takes into account changes in the cost of living as impacted by inflation over time.

GDP per capita is another important measure. GDP per capita illustrates a country's respective economic output when divided by the total population. GDP PPP per capita can give a more accurate picture of the relative productivity and wealth of citizens within a given country.


Definition of Gross National Product

Gross National Product (GNP) measures the total market value of all the goods and services produced by a nation during specified period. More specifically, GNP is an estimation of the total money value of all the goods and services produced by factors of production owned by residents of a particular country including goods and services produced outside the borders of that country (Johnson, 2005). But unlike GDP, GNP measures include goods and services produced both inside and outside a nation's borders. That is, GNP includes income produced by citizens doing business in foreign countries. For instance, if I owned two garment manufacturing businesses - one in the USA and the other in Cambodia, the income generated from both businesses would be included in the USA's GNP, but only the income produced within the borders of the USA would be included in the USA's GDP.


Definition of Purchasing Power Parity

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) can be defined as the price equivalence of a particular product sold in two or more countries given the exchange rate of one currency to another. More specifically, " PPP theory states that the exchange rate between one currency and another is in equilibrium when their domestic purchasing powers at that exchange rate are equivalent" (Moffatt, 2013). For instance, at the time this article was written, the exchange rate of the US Dollar to Japanese Yen was roughly 1 USD to 101 Yen. If a watermelon of a certain weight costs $3.00 in the US then the theory of purchasing price parity would indicate the USD would be in equilibrium with the Yen if in Japan the same watermelon cost 303 Yen. If 5 years later the the exchange rate of USD to Yen moves to 1 to 120 and a watermelon of the same weight costs $5.00 in the USA, then a watermelon of the same weight in sold in Japan should sell for 600 Yen for PPP equilibrium to be maintained.


GDP, GNP, and PPP Comparative Measures


As so described above, GDP, GNP, and PPP serve as measures used to compare the productivity of nations in terms of growth of their own domestic economies as well as the strength of their respective economies in comparison to other countries and regions of the world.

Top 10 Country GDP Current Dollars

Country Name
GDP 2011
 
United States
14,991,300,000,000
 
China
7,318,499,269,769
 
Japan
5,867,154,491,918
 
Germany
3,600,833,333,333
 
France
2,773,032,125,000
 
Brazil
2,476,652,189,880
 
United Kingdom
2,445,408,064,516
 
Italy
2,193,971,063,086
 
India
1,872,840,247,709
 
Russian Federation
1,857,769,676,144
 

GDP PPP 2012 est. Top 15

Country/Economic Region
GDP PPP 2012 est.
 
USA
15,660,000,000,000
 
European Union
15,630,000,000,000
 
China
12,380,000,000,000
 
India
4,784,000,000,000
 
Japan
4,525,000,000,000
 
Germany
3,123,000,000,000
 
Russia
2,504,000,000,000
 
Brazil
2,362,000,000,000
 
United Kingdom
2,323,000,000,000
 
France
2,253,000,000,000
 
Italy
1,834,000,000,000
 
Mexico
1,761,000,000,000
 
South Korea
1,611,000,000,000
 
Canada
1,446,000,000,000
 
Spain
1,409,000,000,000
 

PPP GDP per capita Top 15

Country
PPP GDP per capita 2011
 
Luxembourg
88,797
 
Qatar
88,314
 
Macao SAR, China
77,079
 
Singapore
60,668
 
Morway
60,392
 
Kuwait
54,283
 
Brunei Barussalam
51,760
 
Switzerland
51,227
 
Hong Kong
50,551
 
United States
48,112
 
United Arab Emirates
47,893
 
Netherlands
42,779
 
Austria
42,172
 
Australia
41,974
 
Sweden
41,484
 
Economic productivity as divided by total population

References

Satterlee, B. (2009). Cross Borders Commerce.


Johnson, P. (2005). A Glossary of Political Economy Terms. Retrieved from www.auburn.edu.


Moffatt, M. (2013). A Beginner's Guide to Purchasing Power Parity Theory (PPP Theory). About.com economics. Retrieved from economics.about.com.

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