中国的新生消费者

发自北京——中国的领导层已经同意放宽实施了几十年的独生子女政策。只要一对夫妻中有一人是独生子女(以前是必须父母双方都是独生)就被允许生育两个孩子,这个新规则适用于大部分生长在城市的80后。虽然潜在的社会后果是显而易见的,但是可能产生的经济影响却并不明显。

1979年,独生子女政策的实施——为缓解1950-1960年代人口暴涨造成的社会、经济和环境的压力——令生育率下降,从1970年每户3个孩子下降到1982年的每户1.2个孩子。家庭储蓄率随之飙升,从1983年的10.4%上升到2011年惊人的30.5%。那是否是独生子女政策推动了这一增长?如果真是如此的话,修改后的政策会突然扭转这种趋势,反过来在未来十年形成消费热潮吗?

生育率提升可以在两方面降低家庭的储蓄率。首先,孩子的各项需求增加了家庭支出——尤其在教育方面,15~22岁之间的独生子女消费占到了中国家庭总支出的15~25%。其二,既然有更多的子女可以在晚年供养自己,中国的父母们的养老储蓄心理压力也随之降低了。

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