Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP)

As early as the 19th century, the need to compile information on the evolution of an economy over time prompted economists to develop aggregate calculations of a country’s total production. In 1942, the U.S. Department of Commerce published the first official set of national accounts that measure the country’s economic variables, the most important variables being gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP). The latter was calculated for the first time in the 1930s to help get the American economy out of the Great Depression, which was the objective pursued with its calculation. Although both are technical quantities, they have considerable ethical significance, because they refer to the standard of living of citizens and to growth policy objectives.

The GDP is the market value ...

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