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    5.   Explain the concept of purchasing power parity income


The purchasing power parity theory of exchange rate determination was put forward by Professor Gustav Cassel of Sweden in the year 1920. There are two versions of the PPP theory known as the absolute and the relative versions. According to the absolute version, the exchange rate between two currencies should be equal to the ratio of the price indexes in the two countries. The formula for the absolute versions of the theory is as follows:


Here, RAB is the exchange rate between two countries A and B and ‘P’ refers to the price index. The absolute version is not used because it ignores transportation costs and other factors which hinder trade, non-traded goods, capital flows and real purchasing power.

The relative version which is widely used by Economists can be illustrated as follows. Let us assume that India and the United States are on inconvertible paper standard and the domestic purchasing power of $1 in the US is equal to Rs.45 in India. The exchange rate would therefore be $1 = Rs.45. Assuming the price levels in both the countries to be constant, if the exchange rate moves to $1 = Rs.40, it would mean that less rupees are required to buy the same bundle of goods in India as compared to $1 in the US. It means that the US dollar is overvalued and the Indian Rupee is undervalued. Appreciation of the rupee will discourage exports and encourage imports in India. As a result, the demand for USD will increase and that of INR will fall till the PPP exchange rate is restored at $1 = Rs.45. Conversely, if the exchange rate moves to $1 = Rs.50, the INR is overvalued and the USD is undervalued. This will encourage exports and discourage imports till once again the PPP exchange rate is restored.

According to the PPP theory, the exchange rate between two countries is determined at a point of equality between the respective purchasing powers of the two currencies. The PPP exchange rate is a moving par which changes with the changes in the price level. To calculate the equilibrium exchange rate under the relative version of the theory, the following formula is used:

                                             PA1 ∕ PA0

                            R = R0 × —————

                                             PB1∕ PB0

Where 0     =       base period,

1       =       period one,

A&B =       Countries A and B.

P       =       Price Index.

R0     =       Exchange rate in the base period.

Assuming the price index of Country ‘A’ (India) to be 100 in the base period and 300 in period one and that of United States to be 100 and 200 in the two periods respectively and the Original exchange rate to be Rs.40, the new PPP exchange rate would be as follows:

               300∕ 100       300     100      3

R=40 × ————— = —— × —— = — = 1.5 = Rs.60

               200 ∕ 100      100     200      2

Thus Rs.60/- or $1 = INR 60 will be the new PPP exchange rate. However, the PPP exchange rate will be modified by the cost of transporting goods including duties, insurance, banking and other charges. These costs are the limits within which the exchange rate can fluctuate given the demand supply situation. These limits are the ‘upper limit’ or the commodity export point and the ‘lower limit’ or the commodity import point.

Critical Assessment of the PPP Exchange Rate Theory. The

PPP theory is criticized on the following grounds:

1.  Price Indices of Two Countries are not comparable.

The base year of indices in two countries may be different. The consumption basket may also be different. The PPP rate may not therefore give an accurate exchange rate based on the relative purchasing powers of any two currencies. 

2.  Base Year is Indeterminate.

The theory assumes that the balance of payments is in equilibrium in the base year. It is difficult to find the base year in which the balance of payment was in equilibrium. 

3.   Capital Mobility Influences the Price Level.

The theory assumes that there is no capital mobility. The general price level does not affect items such as insurance, shipping, banking transactions etc. However, these items influence the exchange rate.

4. Changes in the Exchange Rate affects the General Price Level.

When the exchange rate depreciates, the domestic price level is influenced by the rise in import prices. Demand for exports increases, thereby raising the price of export goods. Conversely, when the exchange rate appreciates, exports are affected and imports become cheaper, thus bringing about a fall in the price level.

5. Laissez Faire does not exist.

The theory is based on the policy of laissez-faire. However, laissez faire does not exist. International trade is greatly influenced by restrictive and protective trade policies. Non-market forces therefore influence the exchange rate. 

6. Elasticity of Reciprocal Demand influences Exchange Rates.

According to Keynes, the theory neglects the influence of elasticity of reciprocal demand. The exchange rate is not only determined by relative prices but also by the elasticity of reciprocal demand between trading countries. 

7. Changes in the Demand for Imports and Exports influence Exchange Rate.

The exchange rate is not determined by purchasing power parity alone. The demand for imports and exports also influence exchange rate. If the demand for imports rise, purchasing power parity remaining constant, the exchange rate will rise and vice versa.


In spite of the limitations, the PPP exchange rate theory is widely used in development economics to ascertain the real level of development of an economy. The theory is therefore useful and PPP exchange rate is therefore a useful macroeconomic tool. Haberler in support of the theory says that, “While the price levels of different countries diverge, their price systems are nevertheless interrelated and interdependent, although the relation need not be that of equality. Moreover, supporters of the theory are quite right in contending that the exchanges can always be established at any desired level of appropriate changes in the volume of money.




The GNP is the most widely used measure of national income. It is the basic accounting measure of the total output of goods and services. GNP is defined as the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a year. It measures the market value of a yearly output and therefore it is a monetary measure of national income. In the definition above, the term ‘final’ is used to avoid the possibility of double counting and to ensure that only the value of final goods and services is considered in measuring GNP. This is because the value of intermediate goods is included within the value of final goods and services. The term ‘gross’ refers to the fact that depreciation or capital consumption of goods has not been subtracted from the value of output. While measuring the GNP, only the final value of goods and services is considered, i.e., the value is added in each stage of the production process. For instance, there are many stages in the production of bread. The farmer produces wheat. The miller converts wheat into flour. The baker bakes the bread and finally the bread is sold by the retailer to the consumer. The value addition process in the production of bread is shown in Fig. 1.1.

As shown in Fig.1.1, value is added to the product at every stage of production as cost is incurred at every stage of value addition. The final value of the bread is the total of the value added at each stage. Suppose in the second stage, if we add up Rs.7 instead of Rs.2 and in the third sage Rs.12 instead of Rs.5 and so on then it will be a case of multiple counting. This will give a wrong and inflated picture of the actual value of the product produced in each period.

The rate of growth of GNP is the most important indicator of the nation’s economy. It shows the rate at which the national income of a country is increasing or decreasing. It is the broadest statistical aggregate of an economy’s output and growth. The estimate of national income in terms of GNP provides the policy makers and business community a useful tool to analyze the economic performance of the country.

In an open economy, the value of GNP at market prices may be symbolically stated as follows:

GNP(MP) = C + I + G + Xn + Rn, where:

GNP(MP)   =       Gross National Product at market prices.

C                =       Consumption goods.

I                  =       Investment goods.

G                =       Government services.

Xn               =       Net exports i.e. exports minus imports.

Rn              =       Net receipts i.e. receipts minus payments.


GNP is the basic accounting measure of national output and represents final products valued at current market prices.  



The Gross Domestic Product refers to the value at market

prices of goods and services produced inside the country in each

year. It can be stated as follows:

GDPMP = C + I + G + (X – M)


C       =       Consumption goods.

I         =       Capital goods or Gross investments.

G       =       Government Services.

X       =       Exports, and

M      =       Imports.

Here, (X – M) refers to net exports or Xn which can be

positive or negative. If exports are greater than imports, net

exports will be positive and vice versa. Net positive exports will

lead to rise in GDP and net negative exports will lead to fall in GDP.



While calculating the GDP, no provision is made for

depreciation or capital expenditure. Net Domestic Product is

arrived at by subtracting depreciation from the GDP. Depreciation

is accounted for because factories, buildings etc., get depreciated

over their life time during their use in the production process.

These goods need replacement once their life is over. Hence, a

part of the replacement cost of the capital is set aside in the form of

depreciation allowance. Symbolically, Net Domestic Product can

be stated as follows:


Where, D=Depreciation. 

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