Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP) are important measures that define the health of the economy. GDP defines the total value of the goods and services that a country produces. On the other hand, GNP defines the total value of goods and services that the residents of a country produce irrespective of where they reside. Even though both terms convey similar things, they are very different. However, people often use them interchangeably when talking about the economic health of a country. To better understand what both these terms mean and convey, we must know the differences between GDP vs GNP.
GDP vs GNP – Differences
Following are the differences between GDP vs GNP:
To understand the activities, production and output taking place within the country, we use the Gross Domestic Product. It takes into account all economic activities within the country, including from residents of other countries.
GNP, on the other hand, takes into account GDP value along with the value of economic activities of expatriates and citizens outside of the country. In simple terms, GNP is the total of all economic activities by citizens of the country irrespective the country they are living in. Thus, economic activity inside and outside the country becomes a major point of difference between GDP vs GNP.
The core concept of GDP revolves around the location. For GNP, it is basically the citizenship. Similarly, GDP talks about productivity at a country scale, while GNP includes productivity at the international level.
Who are Included?
GDP includes all economic activities inside the country by nationals and foreigners. GNP, on the other hand, includes production and services by citizens of a country.
GDP does not take into account the economic activities of the citizens outside the country. GNP, on the other hand, does not consider economic activities by foreigners within the country.
Following is the formula for calculating Gross Domestic Product:
Gross Domestic Product = Private Consumption Gross Investment (C) + Government Investment (I) + Government Spending (G) + (Exports (X) –Imports (M))
Since Gross National Product takes into account the value of economic activities of those who are not residents of the country as well, formula for the same is:
Gross National Product (GNP) = GDP + Net Income Property from abroad
For instance, if a US company is manufacturing automobiles in the United Kingdom, the production will add to the UK GDP. But, if the US firm takes the profit and sends to the shareholders in the US, then the amount will come in the US GNP as United Kingdom residents won’t benefit from this profit.
Context of Calculation
Gross domestic product helps us to understand the overall economic health of the country. On the other hand, economists use gross national product to know how the nationals of the country are doing and what their economic status is. Governments and economists use the GNP to gauge the contribution by the residents to the economy.
Difference in Treatment of Certain Items
There are different situations or items that are treated very differently in the calculation of Gross Domestic Product and Gross National Product. Let’s review each of such situations:
Net income receipts of foreign companies operating in the country– as said earlier, GNP takes into account the economic value of all economic activity by the citizens of the country. Receipt from foreign companies under the ownership of foreign residents does not qualify for the GNP. Gross domestic product or GDP, on the other hand, does include the economic output in the country irrespective of who owns the company operating in the country.
Domestic residents owning company and producing goods for global consumption – assume a case where a mobile manufacturing company produces smartphones for global consumption and remits the profits to the countries that have liberal corporate tax policies. Gross national product, in this case, will include the economic activity or remittance of profit to other countries. GDP, on the other hand, being the measure of the economic output of the nation’s economy does not take into account the international activity, including the money remitted to other countries.
Net income from foreign investment – while calculating gross national product, net income receipts from the international investments by the residents are taken into account. Gross domestic product, on the other hand, does not include this income.
GDP helps to measure the size of the local economy, while GNP reflects the overall economic strength of the country. One can use these measures to study the average purchasing power, distribution of wealth and more.
Usually, an increase in exports leads to an increase in both GDP and GNP. Sometimes, a jump in export may not increase GNP. This, however, depends on the nationality of the company. For instance, if a company, where Google holds a 100% stake, exports services worth $5 billion out of India. This $5 billion figure will come in the GDP, but not in the GNP as the export is by a US company.
Gross domestic product holds more significance in comparison to the gross national product. The former metric gives a holistic picture of the total value of all economic activities in an economy. However, there is a criticism against GDP that it does not tell economic well being of society such as the environmental impact of growth, infant mortality rates and more.1,2