In the classic formula for GDP, i.e., GDP=C+I+G+X-M, where are remittances accounted for? With remittances as high as third of GDP for developing countries, I wonder how they are not explicit in this equation.


Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total value of output in an economy, this can be measured only by Output using this formula.

This method uses GDP = C + I + G + (X-M) where

C: Consumption (Household spending)
I: Investments 
G: Government spending 
X: Exports from an economy 
M: Imports into an economy

The remittances that you mention about are not made against any services. While remittances can be a source of GDP growth by increasing household consumption, it does not directly add to GDP, it does affect GNP though.

For a clear comparison of these two terms GDP and GNP use this

Alternatively you can use incomes to calculate GDP, however note that even in that method you add only those incomes that are made from the production of goods and services are included and not transfers

  • $\begingroup$ But this World bank link says remittances are as high as a third of GDP. Why say so, if remittances are not a part of GDP at all? $\endgroup$
    – Bravo
    Dec 1 '14 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ I could compare illegal income as a percentage of GDP as well, or black money as a percentage of GDP too :) but they are all not part of GDP, its just to show the numbers as significant $\endgroup$
    – skv
    Dec 1 '14 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ I see your point. If the remittances are deposited in fixed account in a bank, then they do enter the GDP as part of 'Investment', right? $\endgroup$
    – Bravo
    Dec 1 '14 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, as soon as it reaches someone, they can either "spend" it or "invest" it and then it becomes part of GDP that way (as spending/investment) $\endgroup$
    – skv
    Dec 1 '14 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Bravo But note that remittances are often going to be in the wrong currency. They would generally be spent on imports either directly or after being exchanged for the local currency. Imports are subtracted from GDP, so even if you can trace spending or investment back to a remittance, it won't necessarily count towards GDP. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    Dec 1 '14 at 16:50

I disagree with the above answer.

In the classic formula for GDP, i.e., GDP=C+I+G+X-M,

Remittances get accounted by mostly from the C factor. Remittances are used by the families back home for additional expenditure - like mobiles, household appliances, eating out, vacation etc.

Even savings eventually are used to build a new house, or fund education or the marriage. SO remittances do get accounted for the in the actual GDP.

If one uses the money earned form abroad in setting up a new business back home, that would come under factor I = Investment.

YOU can ask go talk to an economist who can explain it better.

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    – 1muflon1
    Apr 11 '21 at 11:24

Form the national accounts perspective (since we arise the GDP calculated by the expenditure approach), remittances are not counted in GDP, as @skv correctly affirms. Nevertheless, from the income perspective, remittances are included in the National Disposable Income. Basically its the GDP plus the current account from the balance of payments, where the remitance flows are recorded.

In a future timre, this cash flow will enter to the economy through the banking system and then will impulse consumption and investment.




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