From 1995 to 2005, the average urban household saving rate in China rose by 7 percentage points, to ¼ of disposable income. We use household-level data to explain the postponing of consumption despite rapid income growth. Tracing cohorts over time indicates virtually no consumption smoothing over the life cycle. Saving rates have increased across all demographic groups, although the age-profile of savings has an unusual U-shaped pattern, with saving rates being the highest among the youngest and oldest households in recent years. These patterns are best explained by the rising private burden of expenditures on housing, education, and health care.
Singapore’s economic growth has been heavily dependent on factor accumulation during the past three decades. Attempts to gauge productivity growth in Singapore and other East Asian countries has led to the widely publicized debate on whether the East Asian “miracle” was driven by factor accumulation or productivity growth. According to the most recent study by the authorities, Singapore’s productivity growth was indeed very low until the 1980s, but has improved significantly to a level comparable to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average in the 1990s.
Ms. Rina Bhattacharya, Tarik Yousef, and Mr. Pierre Dhonte
The working age population is expected to grow faster in the Middle East than in any other region in the world between now and 2015—rising annually by 2.7 percent, or 10 million people. This demographic explosion presents the region with a major challenge in terms of providing jobs, incomes, and housing for the growing population, but the expanding labor force can also be seen as an opportunity to generate higher per capita income growth on a sustainable basis. The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of market-friendly institutions in turning the challenge into opportunity.