Understanding Macroeconomic Statistics: An “Ideal-Type” Economy Approach



GDP statistics have been a focus of debates, especially about whether real (constant-price) GDP figures appropriately represent the economic conditions of the economy. This paper shows that the official nominal (current price) GDP is the nominal value of utility the nation enjoys from the current consumption and future consumption that current investment enables to realize in an ideal-type economy with money, which is an intuitive interpretation. However, in this framework, an appropriate real GDP is not the official constant-price GDP but the utility or value GDP, which is the nominal GDP divided by the Consumer Price Index (most broadly defined).