Friday, August 25, 2017

Potential Real GDP vs Actual Real GDP and the PPF.

Here is a  nice illustration of "Potential Real GDP" vs "Actual Real GDP.  Potential GDP is an estimate at a given point in time of an economy's potential to produce Real GDP given its available resources (Land, Labor, Capital, Entrepreneurship).  Gives me an opportunity to show how two important AP Macroeconomic concepts are related to each other.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) publishes a forward looking projection of Potential RGDP years in advance.  This graphic gives the estimated trajectory of Potential RGDP that was calculated in a given year (2007,09,11,13,15, and 2017).  The heavy BLACK line is the trajectory of the "Actual RGDP" that was recorded in the respective year.

It is evident Actual RGDP, since the advent of the 2008 recession has been below the projected Potential---the difference is known as the "Output Gap".

It is noteworthy that after 2008 the CBO consistently lowered the estimate of the US economy's potential to produce Real GDP.
Source: VOXEU
Below I paired this graphic with the Production Possibilities Frontier (PPF).  The PPF is an important model in AP Macro.

I color coded the PPF frontiers in a similar color as the one in the graphic to show the contraction of the US PPF over time (as calculated by the CBO).  I used Point "A" to represent the heavy black line and a consistent under-utilization of societal resources, shown as a point inside the PPF.

Both of these models show the same thing---an output gap that suggests more resources could be put into use before we reach our economic potential.
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