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A better indicator of standards of living: The Gross National Disposable Income


  • Clara Capelli

    () (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia)

  • Gianni Vaggi

    () (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Clara Capelli & Gianni Vaggi, 2013. "A better indicator of standards of living: The Gross National Disposable Income," DEM Working Papers Series 062, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:pav:demwpp:demwp0062

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nigel Driffield & Chris Jones, 2013. "Impact of FDI, ODA and Migrant Remittances on Economic Growth in Developing Countries: A Systems Approach," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 25(2), pages 173-196, April.
    2. Annalisa Prizzon & Gianni Vaggi, 2009. "On The Sustainability of External Debt: Is Debt Relief Enough?," Quaderni di Dipartimento 094, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods.
    3. Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
    4. Milorad Kovacevic, 2010. "Review of HDI Critiques and Potential Improvements," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-33, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    5. Ibrahim Sirkeci & Jeffrey H. Cohen & Dilip Ratha, 2012. "Migration and Remittances during the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13092.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gianni Vaggi, 2015. "Development and the post-2015 challenges: making the Sustainable Development Goals work," DEM Working Papers Series 107, University of Pavia, Department of Economics and Management.
    2. Alberto Botta, 2014. "Structural asymmetries at the roots of the eurozone crisis: what's new for industrial policy in the EU?," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 67(269), pages 169-216.
    3. Constantin Anghelache & Cristina SACALÃ, 2016. "The analysis of correlation between the GDP and the Gross Income," Romanian Statistical Review Supplement, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 64(9), pages 88-93, September.
    4. Constantin Anghelache & Cristina SACALÃ, 2016. "Multiple linear regression used to analyse the corelation between GDP and some variables," Romanian Statistical Review Supplement, Romanian Statistical Review, vol. 64(9), pages 94-99, September.

    More about this item


    National Income; Balance of Payments; Remittances;

    JEL classification:

    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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