Difference Between Factor Income and Transfer Income

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 12, 2023


Difference Between Factor Income and Transfer Income

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In an economy, the national income plays a huge role. But the national income of a country or nation cannot be computed instantly. It includes various factors which need to be taken into account. The total factor income that a country's citizens received over the accounting year is what is referred to as national income. It accounts for any payments or incomes that have an impact on the movement of goods and services. In general, factor income and transfer income are the two different sorts of earnings. Here, we will discuss some of the prominent differences between both incomes.

Factor income vs Transfer income

The uneven distribution of wealth and income in a country's economy can be explained by separating factor income and transferring income into two separate categories. While factor income is gained by people and enterprises as a result of their involvement in the production process, transfer income is intended to help those who might not have the same chances or resources. This can include people who are jobless, disabled, or dealing with other financial difficulties. Transfer income can lessen poverty and inequality by providing a safety net for these people while also fostering economic stability and progress.

Salaries, earnings, and profits made through the creation of goods and services are all considered to be factors of production. It has an immediate connection to a person's or a business's productive actions. While government transfers, such as social security benefits or unemployment benefits, result in transfer income, which is received as a result. These payments serve as a safety net for those who are in need and are not connected to any form of productive activity. Transfer income depends on governmental regulations, corporate actions, and individual contributions, whereas factor income is primarily influenced by market forces and productivity. For instance, the amount of transfer income that individuals receive might be impacted by changes in the government's tax laws. The demand for a particular skill set or a productivity improvement, on the other hand, may result in a rise in the factor income of workers.

For a clear understanding of how money is distributed in an economy, it is crucial to know both concepts.

Difference between factor income and transfer income in tabular form

Parameters of comparisonFactor incomeTransfer income
MeaningFactor income is a term used to describe money obtained through the sale of production inputs or means, such as land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurs.Transfer income is that income that we receive without any special effort.
NatureA country's factor income is included in both its domestic as well as its national income.Both the domestic earnings and national income of an economy do not include transfer income.
RecipientThe production factors, including labor, land, capital, and enterprise, receive factor income.The household sector and the government sector are the recipients of the transfer income.
PaymentIt includes bilateral payment.It includes unilateral payment.
ExampleRent, salary, wages, etc.Donations, scholarships, pensions, etc.

What is factor income?

The term "factor income" refers to the revenue produced by the various factors of production, including land, labor, capital, and business ventures. It includes the earnings made by people or organizations in return for their contributions to the manufacturing process. In general, factor income is created whenever there is any kind of productive activity and is given to the factors in exchange for the help they gave in producing the present output. Because of this, it qualifies as earned income and is taken into account when determining national income. The total of factor incomes makes up national income, however, transfer income is not included when measuring national income because it is not generated as compensation for rendering services.

The factors of production are the core of factor income. So, we must be fully aware of the concept of these factors of production which are as follows:

Land: This element encompasses all natural resources that are needed in production, including the actual land, water, nutrients, and other essential components.

Labor: The term "labor" refers to the human effort that is both mental and physical put forth in the creation of commodities and services.

Capital: Instruments, equipment, infrastructures, and other resources created by humans and utilized in the manufacturing process are collectively referred to as capital.

Entrepreneurship: This component refers to the capacity to coordinate and integrate the various factors of production to produce goods and services.

Further, we will discuss the classification of factor income into various categories such as:


Rent is a fee charged by the owners of land for the use of their property. Land in economics refers to all of nature's free resources such as soil, water, minerals, woodland, petroleum, sunlight, breeze, and so on. That's why when a person has to pay rent, one purchases the right to utilize these natural resources, which are someone else's property. One of the cornerstones of economics is the idea of rent, which has a significant impact on how resources are distributed in society.


The compensation capital owners receive for giving the money they have to others is represented by interest. It is intended to make up for the time value of money. The term "capital" in this context refers to all types of man-made resources, including buildings, tools, furnishings, inventories of materials, machines, cars, computers, etc.


Profit is the money that's left over after all costs, such as rent, salaries, and interest, have been deducted from the revenue a business has brought in. It serves to reward initiative and taking risks. In this context, the term "entrepreneurship" refers to the initiative used by an individual or group in establishing and promoting a firm.

Compensation of employees

Workers receive compensation in the guise of salaries or earnings for any physical or mental labor performed while employed by the company. Bonuses, commissions, employer contributions to the retirement savings account, and other fringe perks may also be included.

In macroeconomic analysis, factor income is most frequently used to compare the gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the monetary value of any finished products or services produced within a nation's borders in a given period, to the gross national product (GNP), which measures the prevailing market value of all the final goods and services produced by a nation's citizens in that same period. Governments are so interested in learning how much money is made domestically and overseas by their population.

What is transfer income?

When people, households, or organizations receive cash or other perks from the government, businesses, or other people without making a direct financial contribution, they are said to be receiving transfer income. Usually, the purpose of these transfers is to increase social welfare, offer financial assistance, or redistribute income.

Government assistance programs are among the most popular types of transfer income. Individuals or families who are having a hard time making ends meet are the target audience for these programs’ financial help. This can involve receiving cash payments to pay for essential living expenditures, housing assistance, and food stamps. These initiatives aim to alleviate poverty by providing aid to those who are most in need. The success of these initiatives and the appropriate level of funding, however, are frequently contested.

Types of transfer income

The transfer income can be classified into two types which will be as follows:

  • Current transfer
  • Capital transfer

Current transfer

Whether it is a transfer within one nation or between two countries, a current transfer is a payment deposited from the payer's current source of income and reflected in the recipient's current income.

The aforementioned kind of transfer can be carried out in several ways, including electronic funds transfers, online payment methods, and even actual cash exchanges. In addition to providing for one's family, current transfers can also be done as gifts or remittances. In some circumstances, current transfers may also be conducted as a part of a commercial transaction, such as payment for goods rendered or items acquired. No matter the motivation behind the transfer, it is of the utmost importance to make sure that it is carried out safely, and lawfully, as well as with all the paperwork and permits in place.

Capital transfer

A transfer payment is referred to as a capital transfer when it is paid using the payer's money and is accounted for in the recipient's wealth. It may have an impact on both the payer's and the recipient's wealth.

For instance, a struggling company might receive a grant or loan from the government as part of a capital transfer. This transfer payment would potentially raise the wealth of the receiving company and help the economy as a whole, but it would also influence government spending and taxpayers.

Various payments and benefits that are given to people, households, or organizations without their directly contributing to the cost are included in the category of "transfer income." In advancing social welfare, eliminating income inequality, and encouraging economic growth, it is crucial. Policymakers, economists, and citizens must all have a thorough understanding of the different types, sources, and effects of transfer income to create efficient plans for social development and resource allocation. To ensure that transfer money is allocated equitably and effectively to those who need it the most, it is crucial to research and analyze it. This will enable us to build a society that is more equitable and affluent for everybody. Societies can work towards a future that is more just and prosperous by maximizing factor income through supporting policies and encouraging successful transfer income programs.

Main differences between factor income and transfer income in points.

  • Factor income refers to the earnings that accrue to the production's inputs—land, labor, capital, and business—in exchange for providing the businesses with their goods and services. Contrarily, transfer income is what you get when you take money without giving anything back in the form of assets, goods, or services.
  • Factor income is a term that pertains to producing money, or earned income. Contrarily, transfer income is unearned revenue that the person receiving it merely receives; it is not something they have worked for. It is therefore a receipt idea.
  • Transfer income is a one-way payment, whereas factor income is a two-way payment.
  • The contribution of various production factors is shown by factor income, which is directly tied to the manufacturing process. The Transfer income, on the other hand, is intended to act as a safety net or to redress social and economic inequities and is generally funded by taxes, government spending, or social security funds.
  • Since transfer income does not represent any production of goods and services, it is excluded from the calculation of national income. On the contrary, factor income, which takes into account the market value of the items produced or the services provided over a specific period, is the sum of all factor incomes created by the regular inhabitants. So, the worth of what society produces might be said to be equal to the sum of its total revenue.
  • Factor and transfer income differ from one another in terms of their underlying economics. While transfer income prioritizes social welfare and income redistribution without having any connections to economic output, factor income results from productive activities and the development of economic value.


In light of everything that has been discussed above it can be concluded that both factor income and transfer income play crucial in macroeconomics. Transfer income is dependent on public policies, private institutions, and individual contributions, whereas factor income is primarily driven by market forces and productivity. To promote social progress and general economic well-being, factor and transfer income are both necessary. Factor income promotes economic progress and personal prosperity, whereas transfer income aims to lessen inequality and act as a safety net for those who are less fortunate.

Overall, a comprehensive knowledge of factor income and transfer income is essential for developing policies that are beneficial to the economy and society as a whole. We may strive towards establishing a more just and long-lasting economic system by acknowledging the value of both sources of income.


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"Difference Between Factor Income and Transfer Income." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 14 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-factor-income-and-transfer-income>.

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