What is Not Included in GDP?

What is Not Included in GDP?

What is Not Included in GDP?

What is not included in GDP is money spent by the government, non-market transactions, private transfer payments, gifts, and financial market transactions. These transactions include financial securities representing ownership or a means to finance production. On the other hand, secondhand sales do not constitute production or service, as in consignment shops. Instead, they would include the services provided by the consignment shop itself.

Non-market transactions

The GDP excludes certain activities that are not part of the market. Non-market transactions produce goods and services for non-remuneration, such as home production and bartering. GDP does not include the value of services that are provided to individuals and businesses, such as health care. The GDP also does not include the value of goods sold in secondhand markets. In addition, some activities, such as the sale of secondhand goods, do not have monetary value and are therefore not included in GDP.

Investment in a business can involve the sale of tangible assets or the transfer of securities. The former represents ownership, while the latter represents the financial relationship between a buyer and a seller. Neither the purchase nor the resale of tangible assets constitutes a production. Investment in a company or its shares results in economic growth, not transfers of goods or services. The latter is not included in the GDP because they do not affect government spending.

GDP excludes non-market transactions, such as social security payments and welfare payments. While the latter may be necessary for developing economies, they are not included in the GDP because the government cannot measure them. Those activities, such as black-market trading and illegal trade, cannot be included in the GDP. Nevertheless, the GDP is a good indicator of domestic economic activity. However, GDP does not consider the value of unpaid volunteer work, under-the-table employment, and underground market activities.

Besides the material output of a country, GDP does not include the profits of companies abroad. Instead, those profits are remitted to foreign investors, making GDP appear to be overstated. For example, Ireland reported a GDP in 2020 of $426 billion and a GNI of $324 billion. This difference is primarily due to the repatriation of profits from foreign companies in Ireland.

Government expenditures

The bulk of government spending in the United States is payments to individuals. Most goods and services that Americans purchase with government transfers are produced privately. In contrast, government spending in the United States is less than 2 1/2 percent of GDP, or 1.4 percent of GDP if we exclude the military. This reflects that the United States has plenty of long-term fiscal challenges, but out-of-control government spending isn’t one of them.

Various factors affect the total amount of government spending. For example, some state governments spend the most money on seven major categories: public welfare, higher education, highways and roads, and housing. Other categories are capital expenditures or goods bought or sold by businesses. 

These are not included in GDP because they are not produced in the country, while those sold to nonresidents are considered exports. But the net result is the same: government spending does not reflect consumer purchases.

The World Bank’s data on government spending helps analyze the trend in government spending over time. A positive trend has been seen in the first decade of the 21st century, with some countries showing an increase in government spending over the past two decades. 

Using the ‘Chart’ tab on the map, you can examine country-specific time trends. However, cross-country data are challenging to come by below the main level.

Among the five categories of expenditures, government spending and net exports are the two most important. These three components comprise two-thirds of GDP, while government expenditures make up the remaining percentage. The other third is investment expenditure, including durable goods, structures, and net exports. This list is quite lengthy and complicated to understand. Fortunately, many resources can help you interpret these numbers.

Black market transactions

The black market transactions that go uncounted are known as shadow economies. This is because they operate outside the country’s borders and, as such, are not counted when calculating GDP. As a result, these activities are not representative of the country’s production, and therefore, the GDP of a country can be much smaller than it is. 

In addition to these activities, governments do not include the income from government transfer payments, such as social security or welfare.

The majority of these markets are based on illegal transactions that are unrecorded. As a result, the tax revenue is not reported, and black market transactions are not included in the country’s gross domestic product. Some countries also have price ceilings, which encourage illegal trade. In many cases, these transactions do not fall under the GDP, but they are significant enough to cause economic problems in their own right.

GDP is a measure of economic activity, and economists use it to analyze the state of the economy. But many essential aspects of the economy are not reported in GDP calculations. Some of these activities include barter and black market transactions. These activities contribute to the GDP, but they are not included in GDP estimates. Moreover, they do not require any capital services or non-labor inputs. These activities are excluded because they are illegal.

GDP is calculated using a ‘life cycle’ approach. Each market transaction must have a buyer and a seller to be counted in GDP. Similarly, current transactions involving assets from previous periods are not included in GDP. For instance, a laptop manufactured in 2000 can be resold in 2006, but this does not constitute the creation of new value. The same principle applies to black market transactions.


GDP is the total value of goods produced and services rendered by a country. It measures the total value added during all stages of production, from mining to selling. However, not all investments are included in GDP. Investments made by households, for example, do not count towards the GDP. For example, a company that issues shares does not contribute to its output. Neither do the investors who buy these shares. Many household investments are not even included in GDP.

GDP does not measure the output of the black market or unpaid work. Some black-market activities, such as drug manufacturing, are not included in the GDP as they are not a reflection of current production. Likewise, secondhand sales are not included in GDP, as they represent the transfer of ownership rather than the sale service. Even gift-giving is not included. Moreover, some types of illegal activity are not considered GDP-included, such as burglary and robbery.

Another example of investments not included in GDP is the production of inventories. Although companies invest in producing this inventory, they do not sell it. The inventories they have to sit in warehouses and shelves are counted as investment expenditures. Consequently, the investment they make to sell their output is counted twice. The total value of inventories is a more complete measure of the economy than the gdp.

GDP is an essential indicator of the economy and is a fundamental tool for investors to make investment decisions. It shows government and household spending and is an essential guide for businesses and investors. The data also allows governments to make monetary policy decisions. These statistics help guide business strategies and determine the optimal asset allocation in an economy. And as we know, the value of GDP is increasing, and the value of stocks in a country is also increasing.


As economics has gotten more global, volunteerism has assumed a more minor role in the family. Historically, it was not a priority for working people to volunteer, as the benefits accrued to people outside the family. Working families also do not volunteer more for natural resources, education, and welfare, because they are already spending too much on these areas. Then, they do volunteer, but only after they have fulfilled their basic household needs.

But how can volunteerism be measured? One way to do this is to measure the number of hours people spend on volunteer activities. However, volunteerism does not directly contribute to GDP, and the authors did not explain why it is not included. Regardless, the results were puzzling. The authors’ theory of consumption and the voluntary sector shows that volunteerism does not correspond to a society’s values.

While the value of volunteering is obvious, it is not included in the GDP. While volunteer work is not explicitly counted as GDP, it does contribute to a country’s GDP, which includes all the goods and services produced by individuals and nonprofit organizations. And, unlike hiring childcare workers to look after children, volunteer work does not count as GDP either. 

So, there is no clear way to measure the value of these volunteer activities in the country’s economy.

The third primary source of economic activity that is not included in the GDP is volunteer work. While most economists disagree on the motivations of volunteer work, some studies suggest that volunteerism may have significant value. It is estimated that, on average, a volunteer adds 35 minutes to a person’s day. The value of volunteer work is 9% of the GDP. And while this is not directly linked to GDP, the benefits of volunteering cannot be underestimated.