Thursday, May 08, 2014

Components Of United States GDP

Table 1: Components, As Percentage Of GDP

I thought I'd expand on a recent graph. I was curious to see how state and federal government spending break down in the United States. To draw the graphs in this post I performed some aggregation from the data:

  • Consumption: Listed as "Personal consumption expenditures".
  • Investment: Combines "Private fixed investment" and "Changes in private inventories".
  • Trade deficit: Combines "Exports of goods and services" and "Imports of goods and services".
  • Federal Government: Combines "National defense: Consumption expenditures", "National defense: Gross investment", "Nondefense: Consumption expenditures", and "Nondefense: Gross investment".
  • State Government: Combines "State and local government consumption expenditures" and "State and local government gross investment".

I suppose I could find a price index, and plot absolute amounts, rather than percentages of GDP. Then you could see, for example, that GDP in 2009 is actually lower than the 2008 value, as a result of the global crash. Does the breakdown of government spending into consumption and gross investment components reflect the influence of Robert Eisner?

Table 2: Selected Components, As Percentage Of GDP


Anonymous said...

I didn't check the place where you are getting your data, but it's clearly wrong. The US gov spending topped around 40% according to, which has the correct data.

Robert Vienneau said...

Conventions differ on how to count, and some are more appropriate for some purposes. I do not fully understand the BEA data. An obvious possibility is that they are not including transfer payments. Consumption paid out of, say, food stamps is not consumption or investment spending by government, but by private households.

And other differences in counting conventions could exist.