1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the total market value of all final goods and services currently produced within the domestic territory of a country in a year.

Four things must be noted regarding this definition.

First, it measures the market value of annual output of goods and services currently produced. This implies that GDP is a monetary measure.

Secondly, for calculating GDP accurately, all goods and services produced in any given year must be counted only once so as to avoid double counting. So, GDP should include the value of only final goods and services and ignores the transactions involving intermediate goods.

Thirdly, GDP includes only currently produced goods and services in a year. Market transactions involving goods produced in the previous periods such as old houses, old cars, factories built earlier are not included in GDP of the current year.

Lastly, GDP refers to the value of goods and services produced within the domestic territory of a country by nationals or non-nationals.

  1. Net National Product (NNP) at Market Price: NNP is the market value of all final goods and services after providing for depreciation. That is, when charges for depreciation are deducted from the GNP we get NNP at market price. Therefore’

NNP = GNP – Depreciation

Depreciation is the consumption of fixed capital or fall in the value of fixed capital due to wear and tear.

  1. Gross National Product (GNP): Gross National Product is the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a year. GNP includes net factor income from abroad whereas GDP does not. Therefore,

GNP = GDP + Net factor income from abroad.

Net factor income from abroad = factor income received by Indian nationals from abroad – factor income paid to foreign nationals working in India.

  1. Net National Product (NNP) at Factor Cost (National Income): NNP at factor cost or National Income is the sum of wages, rent, interest and profits paid to factors for their contribution to the production of goods and services in a year. It may be noted that:

NNP at Factor Cost = NNP at Market Price – Indirect Taxes + Subsidies.

  1. Personal Income: Personal income is the sum of all incomes actually received by all individuals or households during a given year. In National Income there are some income, which is earned but not actually received by households such as Social Security contributions, corporate income taxes and undistributed profits. On the other hand there are income (transfer payment), which is received but not currently earned such as old age pensions, unemployment doles, relief payments, etc. Thus, in moving from national income to personal income we must subtract the incomes earned but not received and add incomes received but not currently earned. Therefore,

Personal Income = National Income – Social Security contributions – corporate income taxes – undistributed corporate profits + transfer payments.

Disposable Income: From personal income if we deduct personal taxes like income taxes, personal property taxes etc. what remains is called disposable income. Thus,

Disposable Income = Personal income – personal taxes.

Disposable Income can either be consumed or saved. Therefore,

Disposable Income = consumption + saving.


Production generates incomes which are again spent on goods and services produced. Therefore, national income can be measured by three methods:

  1. Output or Production method
  2. Income method, and
  3. Expenditure method.

Let us discuss these methods in detail.

a). Output or Production Method: This method is also called the value-added method. This method approaches national income from the output side. Under this method, the economy is divided into different sectors such as agriculture, fishing, mining, construction, manufacturing, trade and commerce, transport, communication and other services. Then, the gross product is found out by adding up the net values of all the production that has taken place in these sectors during a given year.

In order to arrive at the net value of production of a given industry, intermediate goods purchase by the producers of this industry are deducted from the gross value of production of that industry. The aggregate or net values of production of all the industry and sectors of the economy plus the net factor income from abroad will give us the GNP. If we deduct depreciation from the GNP we get NNP at market price. NNP at market price – indirect taxes + subsidies will give us NNP at factor cost or National Income.

The output method can be used where there exists a census of production for the year. The advantage of this method is that it reveals the contributions and relative importance and of the different sectors of the economy.

b). Income Method: This method approaches national income from the distribution side. According to this method, national income is obtained by summing up of the incomes of all individuals in the country. Thus, national income is calculated by adding up the rent of land, wages and salaries of employees, interest on capital, profits of entrepreneurs and income of self-employed people.

This method of estimating national income has the great advantage of indicating the distribution of national income among different income groups such as landlords, capitalists, workers, etc.

c). Expenditure Method: This method arrives at national income by adding up all the expenditure made on goods and services during a year. Thus, the national income is found by adding up the following types of expenditure by households, private business enterprises and the government: –

  1. Expenditure on consumer goods and services by individuals and households denoted by C. This is called personal consumption expenditure denoted by C.
  2. Expenditure by private business enterprises on capital goods and on making additions to inventories or stocks in a year. This is called gross domestic private investment denoted by I.
  3. Government’s expenditure on goods and services i.e. government purchases denoted by G.
  4. Expenditure made by foreigners on goods and services of the national economy over and above what this economy spends on the output of the foreign countries i.e. exports – imports denoted by

(X – M). Thus,

GDP = C + I + G + (X – M)

Difficulties in the Measurement of National Income

There are many difficulties in measuring national income of a country accurately. The difficulties involved are both conceptual and statistical in nature. Some of these difficulties or problems are discuss below:

  1. The first problem relates to the treatment of non-monetary transactions such as the services of housewives and farm output consumed at home. On this point, the general agreement seems to be to exclude the services of housewives while including the value of farm output consumed at home in the estimates of national income.
  2. The second difficulty arises with regard to the treatment of the government in national income accounts. On this point the general viewpoint is that as regards the administrative functions of the government like justice, administrative and defense are concerned they should be treated as giving rise to final consumption of such services by the community as a whole so that contribution of general government activities will be equal to the amount of wages and salaries paid by the government. Capital formation by the government is treated as the same as capital formation by any other enterprise.
  3. The third major problem arises with regard to the treatment of income arising out of the foreign firm in a country. On this point, the IMF viewpoint is that production and income arising from an enterprise should be ascribed to the territory in which production takes place. However, profits earned by foreign companies are credited to the parent company.

Special Difficulties of Measuring National Income in Under-developed Countries

In under-developed countries like India, we face some special difficulties in estimating national income. Some of these difficulties are:

  1. The first difficulty arises because of the prevalence of non-monetised transactions in such countries so that a considerable part of the output does not come into the market at all. Agriculture still being in the nature of subsistence farming in these countries, a major part of output is consumed at the farm itself.
  2. Because of illiteracy, most producers have no idea of the quantity and value of their output and do not keep regular accounts. This makes the task of getting reliable information very difficult.
  3. Because of under-development, occupational specialization is still incomplete, so that there is lack of differentiation in economic functioning. An individual may receive income partly from farm ownership, partly from manual work in industry in the slack season, etc. This makes the task of estimating national income very difficult.
  4. Another difficulty in measuring national income in under-developed countries arises because production, both agriculture and industrial, is unorganized and scattered in these countries. In India, agriculture, household craft, and indigenous banking are the unorganized and scattered sectors. An assessment of output produced by self-employed agriculturist, small producers and owners of household enterprises in the unorganized sectors requires an element of guesswork, which makes the figure of national income unreliable.
  5. In under-developed countries there is a general lack of adequate statistical data. Inadequacy, non-availability and unreliability of statistics is a great handicap in measuring national income in these countries.


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