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Cork and Articles of Cork
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Raymond Y.
May 25, 2021

What are the differences between gross domestic product and gross national product?

1 answer

David W.
May 25, 2021

GNP and GDP are very closely related concepts, and the main differences between them comes from the fact that there may be companies owned by foreign residents that produce goods in the country, and companies owned by domestic residents that produce goods for the rest of the world and revert earned income to domestic residents. For example, there are a number of foreign companies that produce goods and services in the United States and transfer any income earned to their foreign residents. Likewise, many U.S. corporations produce goods and services outside of the U.S. borders and earn profits for U.S. residents. If income earned by domestic corporations outside of the United States exceeds income earned within the United States by corporations owned by foreign residents, the U.S. GNP is higher than its GDP.

Calculating both GNP and GDP can produce different results in terms of total output. For example, in 2019 U.S. GDP was $21.75 trillion, while its GNP was $22.03 trillion. While GDP is the most widely followed measure of a country's economic activity, GNP is still worth looking at because large differences between GNP and GDP may indicate that a country is becoming more engaged in international trade, production or financial operations. The larger the difference between a country's GNP and GDP, the greater the degree of incomes and investment activity in that country involve transnational activities such as foreign direct investment one way or another.

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