Two children in China

El motor de consumo de la política de dos hijos de China

LONDRES – El anuncio en octubre de que China está poniendo fin a su política de hijo único marca la culminación de una aberración histórica de 37 años que aceleró el envejecimiento demográfico del país durante décadas. Las consecuencias sociales y económicas de los controles drásticos de la población por parte de las autoridades, que redujeron la tasa de fertilidad promedio en los hogares urbanos de unos tres hijos en 1970 a apenas por encima de uno en 1982, han sido dramáticas. El interrogante ahora es si la nueva política de dos hijos del país mitigará esas consecuencias y, de ser así, en qué medida.

En verdad, el impacto de la política de dos hijos probablemente sea de tan amplio alcance -y, en general, mucho más positivo- que el de la restricción del hijo único. Esto es especialmente válido en el largo plazo, pero los efectos se volverán aparentes inclusive en un plazo relativamente más corto. Una razón clave para esto es que un incremento en la cantidad de hijos por hogar obligará a una reducción en la tasa de ahorro agregada, lo que cumple con un objetivo macroeconómico de largo alcance.

La actual tasa de ahorro de China es tan alta que se la suele culpar de alimentar los desequilibrios globales y hacer caer las tasas de interés en todo el mundo. Es más, es un obstáculo importante en la transición en marcha de China de un modelo de crecimiento liderado por las exportaciones a uno basado en el consumo y los servicios internos. La política de dos hijos puede resultar indispensable para impulsar esta transición -un proceso que comenzará antes de lo que anticipan la mayoría de los observadores.

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