Much has been made of the low birth rates in places such as Europe and Japan, but Singapore also has the same problem. An economist offers a solution:

Prominent economist Lim Chong Yah presented this stark choice at a seminar yesterday when he suggested tackling the birth dearth by leveraging on the value Singaporeans place on education.

He said the Government can do this at three levels:

For the first child, provide free education from nursery school to Primary 6

For the second child, continue this to secondary school and up to A levels

For the third child, give free education all the way up to polytechnic and university level.

On the basis of merit, a student should be able to attend the school of his choice, including more expensive independent schools, and the state would pick up the bill for his education, said Professor Lim.

One of the odd pieces of data is that Singapore has a low level of educational attainment compared to its GDP. From some brief searching today, it appears that the city-state does charge some fees to parents for their children to attend school. I had chalked it up to some sort of lag effect, but it may be that a not insignificant number of kids drop out due to cost. It seems worth investigating further, I'll put it on my things to do this summer.

Another economist summed it nicely:

Said NUS economist Cheolsung Park: 'A couple will have a child if they expect the lifetime benefit of having the child, such as happiness, is greater than the lifetime cost of having the child, such as monetary, psychological and time costs

One more idea, since Singapore has some of the highest alcohol taxes anywhere, a cut may be in order.

Edit: It turns out I didn't need the whole summer at all; I have the Barro-Lee educational attainment data on my USB flashdrive(as everybody should because you never know when somebody is gonna call the American people stupid or morons). It turns out that Singapore(8.12, highest level of schoolings age 25 and over) is catching up quickly, is past Italy(7.00) and not far behind France(8.37). BTW, the Scandies, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Swiss, S, Korea, a few others and the U.S.(12.25, the highest), lead the way. And, education isn't statistically significant as a determinate of per capita GDP, in case you didn't know.


Powered by Movable Type 5.02

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Bob published on May 16, 2004 2:46 AM.

Arts in the Economy: An outcome or a determinant? was the previous entry in this blog.

India is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.