June 21, 2018 

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COMPANY TOWN: A small town closely associated with the production activity by a single firm. The firm is typically the only employer in the town and most of the goods and services sold throughout the town are provided by this firm. Company towns were quite prevalent in the late 1800s and early 1900s during the U.S. industrial revolution, often affiliated with a large mining, lumber, or manufacturing facility that was isolated from major urban areas. The company literally built a town around this facility to provide support services for their employees. The downside, however, was the lack of competition for both the employment of labor (monopsony) and the provision of consumer goods (monopoly). In some cases, the controlling firm exploited its market control creating circumstances not but different from slavery. Such company towns were a key motivation from the formation of labor unions.

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The total market value, measured in current prices, of all goods and services produced within the political boundaries of an economy during a given period of time, usually one year. The key is that nominal gross domestic product is measured in current, or actual prices, the prices that buyers actually pay for goods and services purchased. Nominal gross domestic product is also termed current gross domestic product. A contrasting measure is real gross domestic product, which adjusts for inflation by measuring production at constant prices.
Nominal gross domestic product is actually nothing more than gross domestic product. A comparison between the definitions of gross domestic product and nominal gross domestic product indicates that both are virtually identical, with one minor difference. Nominal gross domestic product includes the phrase "measured in current prices."

This additional phrase only serves to emphasize that (nominal) gross domestic product is the total market value of all goods and services IN CURRENT PRICES. Nominal gross domestic product is actually just an extended, and somewhat more precise, name for gross domestic product. Whenever the term gross domestic product is used, without a qualifier or adjective, such as "real" or "constant," then it is nominal gross domestic product, it is CURRENT production at CURRENT prices.

So why the difference? Why the extra phrase? Why not just leave it at "gross" domestic product, with no "nominal" added? The extra phrase is included for contrast with real gross domestic product, an extremely important related measure of economic activity. Real gross domestic product adjusts nominal gross domestic product for inflation, or for changes in the average price level. Nominal gross domestic product is thus the current value of gross domestic product without adjusting for inflation.

While nominal gross domestic product is THE measure of current production at current prices, it is NOT the best indicator of economic progress. Because any change in nominal gross domestic product could result from changes in physical production, the prices of this production, or both, it is impossible to know how much progress the economy is making JUST by looking at changes in nominal gross domestic product.

For example, a 5 percent increase in nominal gross domestic product could be the result of:

  • A 5 percent increase in physical production, but no change in prices. Here there is a lot of progress, with no inflation.

  • A 5 percent increase in prices, but no change in physical production. Here there is a lot of inflation, but no progress.

  • A 4 percent increase in physical production and a 1 percent increase in prices, 1 percent increase in physical production and a 4 percent increase in prices, or any other combination of production and price changes that add up to 5 percent.

  • A 2 percent decrease in physical production and a 7 percent increase in prices, a 7 percent increase in physical production and a 2 percent decrease in prices, or any other combination of production and price changes that add up to 5 percent.

In fact, a relatively robust increase in nominal gross domestic product could result during a business-cycle recession, if inflation is high. Using only nominal gross domestic product is likely to disguise changes in real production.


Recommended Citation:

NOMINAL GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: June 21, 2018].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | real gross domestic product | net domestic product | national income | personal income | disposable income | gross national product |

Or For A Little Background...

     | gross domestic product | business cycles | current production |

And For Further Study...

     | gross domestic product, ins and outs | gross domestic product, welfare | gross domestic product, expenditures | gross domestic product, income | National Income and Product Accounts | Bureau of Economic Analysis | National Bureau of Economic Research | business cycle indicators | circular flow | stabilization policies | potential real gross domestic product | unemployment | inflation |

Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | Bureau of Economic Analysis | Bureau of Labor Statistics |

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