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gross national product

gross national product (GNP), in economics, a quantitative measure of a nation's total economic activity, generally assessed yearly or quarterly. The GNP equals the gross domestic product plus income earned by domestic residents through foreign investments minus the income earned by foreign investors in the domestic market. Gross domestic product, often confused with GNP, is calculated from the total value of goods and services produced in an economy over a specified period. Since World War II, GNP has been generally regarded as the most important indicator of the status of an economy. In the United States, the economy is considered to be in recession if there are two consecutive quarters of decrease in GNP. Despite the fact that GNP does not allow for inflation, overall value of production, and other factors, it is nevertheless a significant measurement of economic health. In 1995 the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) created a new system for measuring national wealth, based on the value of natural and mineral resources.

See L. C. Thurow and R. L. Heilbroner, Economics Explained (1987); J. Craven, Introduction to Economics (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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