GDP can be contrasted with gross national product (GNP) or gross national income (GNI). The difference is that GDP defines its scope according to location, while GNP defines its scope according to ownership. In a global context, world GDP and world GNP are therefore equivalent terms. GDP is product produced within a country’s borders; GNP is product produced by enterprises owned by a country’s citizens. The two would be the same if all of the productive enterprises in a country were owned by its own citizens, and those citizens did not own productive enterprises in any other countries.
In practices, however, foreign ownership makes GDP and GNP non-identical. Production within a country’s borders, but by an enterprise owned by somebody outside the country, counts as part of its GDP but not its GNP; on the other hand, production by an enterprise located outside the country, but owned by one of its citizens, counts as part of its GNP but not its GDP. To take the United States as an example, the U. S. ‘s GNP is the value of output produced by American-owned firms, regardless of where the firms are located.
Similarly, if a country becomes increasingly in debt, and spends large amounts of income servicing this debt this will be reflected in a decreased GNI but not a decreased GDP. Similarly, if a country sells off its resources to entities outside their country this will also be reflected over time in decreased GNI, but not decreased GDP. This would make the use of GDP more attractive for politicians in countries with increasing national debt and decreasing assets. Gross national income (GNI) equals GDP plus income receipts from the rest of the world minus income payments to the rest of the world.