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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the components of GDP on the demand side and on the supply side
  • Evaluate how gross domestic product (GDP) is measured
  • Contrast and calculate GDP, net exports, and net national product

Macroeconomics is an empirical subject, so the first step toward understanding it is to measure the economy.

How large is the U.S. economy? The size of a nation’s overall economy is typically measured by its gross domestic product (GDP)    , which is the value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given year. The measurement of GDP involves counting up the production of millions of different goods and services—smart phones, cars, music downloads, computers, steel, bananas, college educations, and all other new goods and services produced in the current year—and summing them into a total dollar value. This task is straightforward: take the quantity of everything produced, multiply it by the price at which each product sold, and add up the total. In 2014, the U.S. GDP totaled $17.4 trillion, the largest GDP in the world.

Each of the market transactions that enter into GDP must involve both a buyer and a seller. The GDP of an economy can be measured either by the total dollar value of what is purchased in the economy, or by the total dollar value of what is produced. There is even a third way, as we will explain later.

Gdp measured by components of demand

Who buys all of this production? This demand    can be divided into four main parts: consumer spending (consumption), business spending (investment), government spending on goods and services, and spending on net exports. (See the following Clear It Up feature to understand what is meant by investment.) [link] shows how these four components added up to the GDP in 2014. [link] (a) shows the levels of consumption, investment, and government purchases over time, expressed as a percentage of GDP, while [link] (b) shows the levels of exports and imports as a percentage of GDP over time. A few patterns about each of these components are worth noticing. [link] shows the components of GDP from the demand side. [link] provides a visual of the percentages.

(Source: http://bea.gov/iTable/index_nipa.cfm)
Components of u.s. gdp in 2014: from the demand side
Components of GDP on the Demand Side (in trillions of dollars) Percentage of Total
Consumption $11.9 68.4%
Investment $2.9 16.7%
Government $3.2 18.4%
Exports $2.3 13.2%
Imports –$2.9 –16.7%
Total GDP $17.4 100%

Percentage of components of u.s. gdp on the demand side

This pie chart shows the percentage of components of U.S. GDP on the demand side as follows: Consumption: 68.4% Investment: 16.7% Government: 18.4% Exports: 13.2% Imports: −16.7%
Consumption makes up over half of the demand side components of the GDP. (Source: http://bea.gov/iTable/index_nipa.cfm)

What is meant by the word “investment”?

What do economists mean by investment, or business spending? In calculating GDP, investment does not refer to the purchase of stocks and bonds or the trading of financial assets. It refers to the purchase of new capital goods, that is, new commercial real estate (such as buildings, factories, and stores) and equipment, residential housing construction, and inventories. Inventories that are produced this year are included in this year’s GDP—even if they have not yet sold. From the accountant’s perspective, it is as if the firm invested in its own inventories. Business investment in 2014 was almost $3 trillion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Questions & Answers

what is demand
Prince Reply
what is market mechanism
thammy Reply
how do you find the marginal line given the input and output?
Greatson Reply
population density
Thompson Reply
what is monopoly
what is elasticity of demand?
tunde Reply
Elasticity is a central concept in economic , and is applied in many situations. Elasticity can provide important information about the strength or weakness of such relationship. Elasticity refers to the responsiveness of one economic variable such as quantity demanded, to change in another variable
such as price. #Price elasticity of demand:which measure the responsiveness of the quantity demanded to a change in price. #cross elasticity of demand:which measure the responsiveness of quantity demanded of one good to a change in the price of another good.
what are variables
Lekan Reply
marginal cost
Seyi Reply
division of labour
Abdulmumeen Reply
explain Qd=601/3p
mahmud Reply
what is unemployment
Ernest Reply
what is the formula for average revenues
please 7 implications of Lionel Robbins definition of economics
Amaka Reply
Problem of economics to the society
Gmzaeeyan Reply
Within 1 or 2 percentage points, what has the U.S. inflation rate been during the last 20 years? Draw a graph to show the data.
Daphne Reply
law of demand is explaining why the demand curve is downward sloping
Tan Reply
the graph would be x axis is quantity and y axis is price, as the price is expensive, there would be less demand therefore less quantity anf vice versa, thats why demand curve is downward sloping

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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