A better indicator of standards of living: The Gross National Disposable Income
Measuring the standards of living is a fundamental concern in economics and particularly in the eld of development. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the most widely accepted measure for a country's economic size and performance, but in recent years the Gross National Income (GNI) has gained greater importance as a better measure for the monetary resources actually available to those who live in a country. However, this paper shows that - especially in developing countries - GNI is not the best indicator for people's living standards, as it does not record the so-called unilateral transfers (foreign aid and workers' remittances among others) and, therefore, the secondary distribution of income that takes place worldwide. In the last decades unilateral transfers - and most importantly workers' remittances - have been among the largest types of income ows entering developing countries thanks to the remarkable increase in the mobility of people. This has had a signi cant impact on these populations' purchasing power that cannot be neglected. Hence, the Gross National Disposable Income (GNDI), which includes both net factor income (captured by the GNI) and unilateral transfers, is to be considered a better tool to assess the resources at a population's disposal for consumption and saving. Yet, GNDI is rarely available in the major international reports and datasets and often confused in GNI in common practice. This paper tries to contribute to closing this void and includes a table in which GNDI is calculated for all countries listed in the World Bank dataset.
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