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2.1 Measures of Economic Performance
Terms in this set (52)
What is economic growth?
-Economic growth occurs when there is a rise in the value of Gross Domestic Product
-GDP measures the quantity of goods and services produced in an economy. In other
words, a rise in economic growth means there has been an increase in national
-Economic growth leads to higher living standards and more employment
What is real GDP?
Real GDP is the value of GDP adjusted for inflation. For example, if the economy
grew by 4% since last year, but inflation was 2%, real economic growth was 2%.
What is nominal GDP?
Nominal GDP is the value of GDP without being adjusted for inflation. In the above
example, nominal economic growth is 4%. This is misleading, because it can make
GDP appear higher than it really is.
What is total GDP?
Total GDP is the combined monetary value of all goods and services produced within
a country's borders during a specific time period.
What is GDP per capita?
GDP per capita is the value of total GDP divided by the population of the country.
Capita is another word for 'head', so it essentially measures the average output per
person in an economy. This is useful for comparing the relative performance of
What is Gross National Product (a way that you can measure national income)?
Gross National Product (GNP) is the market value of all products produced in
an annum by the labour and property supplied by the citizens of one country.
It includes GDP plus income earned from overseas assets minus income
earned by overseas residents. GDP is within a country's borders, whilst GNP
includes products produced by citizens of a country, whether inside the
border or not.
What is Gross National Income (a way that you can measure national income)?
Gross National Income (GNI) is the sum of value added by all producers who
reside in a nation, plus product taxes (subtract subsidies) not included in the
value of output, plus receipts of primary income from abroad (this is the
compensation of employees and property income).
What is Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)?
-This is a theory that estimates how much the exchange rate needs adjusting so that
an exchange between countries is equivalent, according to each currency's
purchasing power. For example, if a car cost £15,000 and the exchange rate between
the UK and the US is 1.5 £ per $, then in the US, the car should cost $10,000. This means both cars cost the same number of US dollars, and the same number of pounds Sterling.
-This helps to minimise misleading comparisons between countries.
What are the limitations of using GDP to compare living standards between countries over time?
-GDP does not give any indication of the distribution of income. Therefore, two countries with similar GDPs per capita may have different distributions which lead to different living standards in the country.
-GDP may need to be recalculated in terms of purchasing power, so that it can account for international price differences. The purchasing power is determined by the cost of living in each country, and the inflation rate.
-There are also large hidden economies, such as the black market, which are not accounted for in GDP. This can make GDP comparisons misleading and difficult to compare.
-GDP gives no indication of welfare. Other measures, such as the happiness index, might be used to compare living standards instead or in conjunction with GDP.
What is the relationship between real incomes and subjective happiness?
The UK economy grew by 5% in GDP per capita between 2007 and 2014, but showed no change in life satisfaction. However, generally, the higher the GDP per capita, the higher the average life
What is inflation?
Inflation is the sustained rise in the general price level over time. This means that the cost of living increases and the purchasing power of money decreases.
What is deflation?
Deflation is the opposite of inflation, where the average price level in the economy falls. There
is a negative inflation rate.
What is disinflation?
Disinflation is the falling rate of inflation. This is when the average price level is still rising, but to a slower extent. This means goods and services are relatively cheaper now than a year ago, and the purchasing power of money has increased.
How do you calculate the inflation rate in the UK?
This is done using the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). It measures household purchasing power with the Family Expenditure Survey. The survey finds out what consumers spend their income on. From this, a basket of goods is created. The goods are weighted according to how much income is spent on each item. Petrol has a higher weighting than tea, for example. Each year, the basket is updated to account for changes in spending patterns.
What is the government macroeconomic objective inflation rate in the UK?
In the UK, it is a government macroeconomic objective for inflation to be at 2% + or - 1%. This is to maintain price stability.
What are the key points to talk about when answering an exam question on the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?
The key points when answering an exam question on CPI are:
o A survey is used
o Weighted basket of goods
o Measures average price change of the goods
o Updated annually
What are limitations of CPI when measuring inflation?
-The basket of goods is only representative of the average household, so it is not accurate for households who do not own cars, for example, and therefore do not spend 14% of their income on motoring.
-Different demographics have different spending patterns.
-Housing costs account for about 16% of the index, yet this varies between people.
-CPI is slow to respond to new goods and services, even though it is updated regularly. Moreover, it is hard to make historical comparisons, since technology twenty years ago was of a vastly different quality, and arguably a different product altogether, than now.
What is the Retail Price Index (RPI)?
-This is an alternative measure of inflation.
-Unlike CPI, RPI includes housing costs, such as payments on mortgage interest and council tax.
-This is why RPI tends to have a higher value than CPI.
CAUSES OF INFLATION:
What is demand pull?
Demand pull: This is from the demand side of the economy. When aggregate demand is growing unsustainably, there is pressure on resources. Producers increase their prices and earn more profits. It usually occurs when resources are fully employed.
What are the main triggers for demand pull inflation?
-A depreciation in the exchange rate, which causes imports to become more expensive, whilst exports become cheaper. This causes AD to rise.
-Fiscal stimulus in the form of lower taxes or more government spending. This means consumers have more disposable income, so consumer spending increases.
-Lower interest rates makes saving less attractive and borrowing more attractive, so consumer spending increases.
-High growth in UK export markets means UK exports increase and AD increases.
CAUSES OF INFLATION:
What is cost push?
Cost push: This is from the supply side of the economy, and occurs when firms face rising costs
When does cost push inflation occur?
-Raw materials become more expensive
-Labour becomes more expensive
-Expectations of inflation- if consumers expect prices to rise, they may ask for higher wages to make up for this, and this could trigger more
-Indirect taxes could increase the cost of goods, if producers choose to pass the costs onto the consumer.
-Depreciation in the exchange rate, which causes imports to become more expensive, which pushes up the price of raw materials.
-Monopolies, using their dominant market position to exploit consumers with high prices.
CAUSES OF INFLATION:
What is the growth of the money supply?
If, for instance, the Bank of England printed
more money, there would be more money flowing in the economy. Extreme increases in the money supply usually cause hyperinflation, when the rate of inflation is incredibly high and uncontrollable. It is only inflationary if the money supply increases at a faster rate than real output.
What is the effect of inflation on consumers?
-Those on low and fixed incomes are hit hardest by inflation, due to its regressive effect, because the cost of necessities such as food and water becomes expensive. The purchasing power of money falls, which affects those with high incomes the least.
-If consumers have loans, the value of the repayment will be lower, because the amount owed does not increase with inflation, so the
real value of debt decreases.
What is the effect of inflation on firms?
-Low interest rates means borrowing and investing is more attractive than saving profits. With high inflation, interest rates are likely to be
higher, so the cost of investing will be higher and firms are less likely to invest.
-Workers might demand higher wages, which could increase the costs of production for firms.
-Firms may be less price competitive on a global scale if inflation is high. This depends on what happens in other countries, though.
-Unpredictable inflation will reduce business confidence, since they are not aware of what their costs will be. This could mean there is less investment.
What is the effect of inflation on the government?
The government will have to increase the value of the state pension and welfare payments, because the cost of living is increasing.
What is the effect of inflation on workers?
-Real incomes fall with inflation, so workers will have less disposable income.
-If firms face higher costs, there could be more redundancies when firms try and cut their costs.
MEASURES OF UNEMPLOYMENT
What is the Claimant Count?
This counts the number of people claiming unemployment related benefits, such as
Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA). They have to prove they are actively looking for work.
Evaluate the claimant count.
Not every unemployed person is eligible for, or bothers claiming JSA. Those with partners on high incomes will not be eligible for the benefit, even if they are unemployed. Although there may be instances of people claiming the benefit whilst
they are employed, the method generally underestimated the level of
MEASURES OF UNEMPLOYMENT
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS)
The LFS is taken on by the ILO. It directly asks people if they meet the following
- Been out of work for 4 weeks
- Able and willing to start working within 2 weeks
- Workers should be available for 1 hour per week. Part time unemployment is included.
Since the part time unemployed are less likely to claim unemployment benefit, this
method gives a higher unemployment figure than the Claimant Count.
What does unemployed mean?
The unemployed are those able and willing to work, but are not employed. They are actively seeking work and usually looking to start within the next two weeks.
What does underemployed mean?
The underemployed are those who have a job, but their labour is not used to its full productive potential. Those who are in part-time work, but are looking for a full-time jobs are underemployed.
What is the effect of employment/unemployment on consumers?
If consumers are unemployed, they have less disposable income and their standard of living may fall as a result. There are also psychological consequences of losing a job, which could affect the mental health of workers.
What is the effect of employment/unemployment on firms?
With a higher rate of unemployment, firms have a larger supply of labour to employ from. This causes wages to fall, which would help
firms reduce their costs. However, with higher rates of unemployment, since consumers have
less disposable income, consumer spending falls so firms may lose profits. Producers which sell inferior goods might see a rise in sales. It might cost firms to retrain workers, especially if they have been out of work for a long time.
What is the effect of employment/unemployment on the government?
If the unemployment rate increases, the government may have to spend more on JSA, which incurs an opportunity cost because the
money could have been invested elsewhere. The government would also receive less revenue from income tax, and from indirect taxes on expenditure, since the unemployed have less disposable income to spend.
What is the effect of employment/unemployment on the workers?
With unemployment, there is a waste of workers' resources. They could also lose their existing skills if they are not fully utilised.
What is the effect of employment/unemployment on the society?
There is an opportunity cost to society, since workers could have produced goods and services if they were employed. There could be negative externalities in the form of crime and
vandalism, if the unemployment rate increases.
What is inactivity?
The economically inactive are those who are not actively looking for jobs. These could include carers for the elderly, disabled or children, or
those who have retired. Some workers are discouraged from the labour market, since they have been out of work for so long that they have stopped looking for work. If the number of the economically inactive increases, the size of the labour force may decrease, which means the productive potential of the economy could fall.
CAUSES OF UNEMPLOYMENT
What is structural unemployment?
This occurs with a long term decline in demand for the goods and services in an industry, which costs jobs. This is especially true of jobs in industries such as car manufacturing, where labour is replaced by capital (this is also called technological unemployment). Globalisation also contributes to structural unemployment, since production in the manufacturing sectors, such as in clothing or motor cars, moves abroad to countries with lower labour costs. This means that workers trained for these jobs will become unemployed, because the industry has declined in size or has been removed from the economy.
CAUSES OF UNEMPLOYMENT
What is frictional unemployment?
This is the time between leaving a job and looking for another job. It is common for there to always be some frictional unemployment, and it is not particularly damaging since it is only temporary.
CAUSES OF UNEMPLOYMENT
What is seasonal unemployment?
This occurs during certain points in the year, usually around summer and winter. During the summer, more people will be employed in the tourist industry, when demand increases.
CAUSES OF UNEMPLOYMENT
What is Demand deficiency (cyclical unemployment)?
This is caused by a lack of demand for goods and services, and it usually occurs during periods of economic decline or recessions. Firms are either forced to close or make workers redundant, because their profits are falling due to decreased
consumer spending, and they need to reduce their costs. This then causes output to fall in several industries. This type of unemployment could actually be caused by increases in productivity, which means each worker can produce a higher output, and therefore fewer workers are needed to produce the same quantity of goods and services.
CAUSES OF UNEMPLOYMENT
What is Real wage inflexibility?
Wages above the market equilibrium may cause unemployment. Classical economists argue that by letting wages fall to the equilibrium level, there would be no unemployment. Classical economists would argue that by letting wages be flexible, by removing trade union power and removing the NMW, wages could fall and unemployment would fall to 0. However, cutting wages during times of weak consumer spending would cause further falls in consumer spending, and there would be even lower economic growth. Moreover, the classical economist argument is made on the assumption of a perfectly competitive market, which is not true in reality.
What is the balance of payments?
This is a record of all financial transactions made between consumers, firms and the government from one country with other countries. It states how much is spent on imports, and what the value of exports is.
What are exports?
Exports are goods and services sold to foreign countries, and are positive in the balance of payments. This is because they are an inflow of money.
What are imports?
Imports are goods and services bought from foreign countries, and they are negative
on the balance of payments. They are an outflow of money.
What is the balance of payments made up of?
-The current account
- The capital account
- The official financing account.
What is the current account on the balance of payments?
The current account on the balance of payments is the balance of trade in goods and services.
What are current account surpluses and deficits?
-A current account surplus means there is a net inflow of money into the circular flow of income. The UK has a surplus with services, but a deficit with goods.
-The UK has a current account deficit. This means the UK spends more on imports from foreign countries, than they earn from exports to foreign countries. If the deficit is large and runs for a long time, there could be financial difficulties with financing the deficit.
What are the UK government's macroeconomic objectives?
oLow, stable inflation
oA sustainable current account on the balance of payments
oSustainable economic growth
What is the relationship between current account imbalances and other macroeconomic objectives?
-By selling more exports to foreign countries, the UK will have a greater inflow of money into the circular flow of income. This will increase AD and improve the rate of economic growth.
-In the UK, during periods of economic decline or recessions, the current account deficit falls. This is because consumer spending falls.
-During periods of economic growth, when -consumers have higher incomes and they can afford to consume more, there is a larger deficit on the current account.
-If imported raw materials are expensive, there could be cost-push inflation in the UK, since firms face higher production costs.
What is the interconnectedness of economies through international trade?
-In theory, the sum of all countries' trade balances should be zero, since what one
country exports will be imported by another country.
-If the UK's main export market, such as the EU, faces an economic downturn then demand for UK goods and services will fall, since consumers in the EU are less able to afford imports.
-International trade has meant countries have become interdependent. Therefore, the economic conditions in one country affect another country, since the quantity they export or import will change.
Recommended textbook explanations
Principles of Economics
N. Gregory Mankiw
Economics: Concepts and Choices (Florida)
Economics: Concepts and Choices
Glencoe Economics: Principles & Practices
Gary E. Clayton
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