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Gross Domestic Expenditures (GDE): the Need for a New National Aggregate Statistic

Skousen, M; (2010) Gross Domestic Expenditures (GDE): the Need for a New National Aggregate Statistic. (Economics Working Papers 113). Centre for Comparative Economics, SSEES, UCL: London, UK. Green open access


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In national income and product accounts, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is widely recognized as the most common denominator of economic performance. However, because it measures final output only, GDP overemphasizes the role of consumer spending as a driver of economic growth rather than saving, business investment, and technological advances. In an effort to create a more balanced picture of the production/consumption process, I create Gross Domestic Expenditures (GDE), a new national aggregate statistic that measures sales at all stages of production. Drawing from the annual input-output data compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, gross business receipts from the IRS, and other sources, GDE estimates gross spending patterns in intermediate production (goods-in-process) and final output. GDE should be the starting point for measuring aggregate spending in the economy, as it measures both the "make" economy (intermediate production), and the "use" economy (final use or GDP). It complements GDP and can easily be incorporated in standard national income accounting and macroeconomic analysis. In the United States, GDE appears to be more than twice the size of GDP, and has historically been three times more volatile than GDP, and serves as a better indicator of business cycle activity. I conclude that consumer spending represents approximately 30 percent of total economic activity (GDE), not 70 percent as often reported. This conclusion is more consistent with the leading economic indicators published by the Conference Board.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Gross Domestic Expenditures (GDE): the Need for a New National Aggregate Statistic
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.ssees.ucl.ac.uk/wp113sum.htm
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1370604
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