Gross Domestic Product

The gross domestic product (GDP) is an indicator of economic activity which makes it possible to measure and compare economic development levels in different countries. GDP is calculated at current prices as well as at previous year's prices, making it possible to represent economic growth rates without taking into account the influence of prices.

GDP over a given period is calculated using three different approaches:

  • the production approach makes it possible to determine the value added created by the different economic actors,
  • the expenditure approach shows how the value added created was used (consumption, investments)
  • the income approach is interested in the remuneration of the factors of production, i.e. land, labour and capital.
Gross domestic product (GDP) : consumption and expenditure approach (in Millions of Swiss francs, at current prices)
Classification 2015 2016p 2017p
Output 1 285 260 1 298 303 1 320 015
- Intermediate consumption  651 962  658 187  672 297
+ Taxes on products  35 522  35 198  36 234
- Subsidies on products - 14 562 - 14 921 - 15 381
GDP: production approach  654 258  660 393  668 572
Final consumption expenditure  426 775  432 724  439 606
Gross capital formation  150 920  151 607  157 358
Exports - Imports  76 562  76 062  71 607
GDP: expenditure approach  654 258  660 393  668 572
GDP, percentage change over previous year at prices of preceding year 1.3 1.6 1.6
p : provisory Source : Swiss Federal Statistical Office, National Accounts

Whereas growth analyses are usually based on GDP growth rates, the notion of GDP per capita allows new factors to be introduced that effect a country's socio-economic development, such as productivity by actual hours worked or labour productivity by jobs in full-time equivalents. GDP per capita is usually used as an indicator of a country's standard of living. However, it is not suitable for analysing the distribution of wealth, quality of life or well-being.

The breakdown of GDP per capita growth rates allows two important explanatory factors to be distinguished: hourly productivity of labour and the effect of labour utilisation.

Furthermore, international comparison of GDP per capita relies on the concept of purchasing power parities (PPP), calculated in the International Comparison Programme of Eurostat/OECD.  

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