DEFINITION of 'Okun Gap'

A macroeconomic term that describes the situation when an economy's potential gross domestic product (GDP) differs from its actual gross domestic product. The gap can either be recessionary or inflationary, but will depend on the economy's current state, including levels of inflation and the unemployment rate.

BREAKING DOWN 'Okun Gap'

An Okun gap can be expressed in either percentage or absolute terms and will be a measure of how much output, as measured by GDP, the economy produced in a given time period relative to the economy's full-employment level.

Arthur Okun, who is the person credited with discovering Okun's law, among other famous discoveries, was a senior economist at the Counsel of Economic Advisers (CEA) during President Kennedy's term in office and a professor at Yale University.

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