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National Income and prices


One implicit assumption in all this discussion is that the prices of goods and services do not change during the period of our study. If prices change, then there may be difficulties in comparing GDPs.  

If we measure the GDP of a country in two consecutive years and see that the figure for GDP of the latter year is twice that of the previous year, we may conclude that the volume of production of the country has doubled. But it is possible that only prices of all goods and services have doubled between the two years whereas the production has remained constant. 

Therefore, in order to compare the GDP figures (and other macroeconomic variables) of different countries or to compare the GDP figures of the same country at different points of time, we cannot rely on GDPs evaluated at current market prices.  

Nominal and real GDPs 

For comparison we take the help of real GDP. Real GDP is calculated in a way such that the goods and services are evaluated at some constant set of prices (or constant prices). Since these prices remain fixed, if the Real GDP changes we can be sure that it is the volume of production which is undergoing changes. Nominal GDP, on the other hand, is simply the value of GDP at the current prevailing prices.  

For example, suppose a country only produces bread. In the year 2000 it had produced 100 units of bread, price was Rs 10 per bread. GDP at current price was Rs 1,000. In 2001 the same country produced 110 units of bread at price Rs 15 per bread. Therefore nominal GDP in 2001 was Rs 1,650 (=110 × Rs 15). Real GDP in 2001 calculated at the price of the year 2000 (2000 will be called the base year) will be 110 × Rs 10 = Rs 1,100. 

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June 2022