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哥大教授:单身汉推高中国房价

哥大教授:单身汉推高中国房价

Nin-Hai Tseng 2013年02月17日
自从2002年男性数量开始超过女性以来,男人要结婚,首先攒足一套房子的首付已经成为一条心照不宣的潜规则。哥伦比亚大学教授魏尚进指出,未婚男性一直在推动中国不断增长的住房市场,去年全国35个主要城市房地产价值的上升,其中近一半价值与中国的性别失衡现象有关。

    俗话说好男人难找,但中国似乎例外,因为这个国家男性的数量远远超过女性。适婚/适交年龄(15-30周岁)男性与女性的比率为1.15——这种罕见的失衡导致未婚男性之间为了取悦为数不多的年轻女性而争得你死我活。许多人渴望结婚,但始终未能如愿。

    但令人匪夷所思的是,中国未婚男性实际上一直在推动中国奇迹般的经济增长。而哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)教授魏尚进在一次研讨会上称,由于性别比严重失衡,这个趋势可能会一直持续到未来几年。

    性别失衡导致许多女性对生活伴侣精挑细选。当然也存在肮脏的一面:年轻女性的缺乏也导致中国部分地区卖淫嫖娼和人口拐卖行为加剧。尽管如此,自2002年男性数量开始超过女性以来,未婚男性若要结婚,首先攒足一套房子的首付已经成为一条心照不宣的潜规则。这反过来又导致男性之间的竞争达到了堪称你死我活的地步。

    “赚钱变得越来越重要,”哥伦比亚大学Jerome A. Chazen国际商业研究院院长魏尚进称。实际上,中国未婚男性一直在推动中国不断增长的住房市场。去年,魏尚进与其他专家共同出版的一份研究报告显示,全国35个主要城市房地产价值的上升,其中高达48%的部分(价值8万亿美元)与中国的性别失衡有关。

    过去10年来,中国经济年增长率高达10%左右。魏尚进估计,同期性别失衡的贡献率平均达到2个百分点。投资者经常揣测中国的快速增长还能延续多久,以及中国是否会出现硬着陆。

    历史显示,经济增长必须放慢脚步。一般而言,人均收入达到17,000美元左右的水平之后,经济增长率将会开始下降,每年下降大约2%。中国2011年的人均收入为5,445美元。尽管人均收入距离顶峰尚有一段距离,但中国的经济增长已经开始下滑。2012年,中国GDP增长率从2011年的9.3%和2010年的10.4%下降到了7.8%。

    但魏尚进表示,中国的人口因素可能会抵消未来的减速。未来10年,中国的男女性别比将上升至1.2个男性比一个女性,这可能是在中国这个严重重男轻女的国家实施三十年计划生育政策的众多意外后果之一。

    当然,中国也面临许多其他人口挑战。包括导致劳动年龄人口短缺的人口快速老龄化。但这些阻碍将会促进经济还是损害经济,仍然有待观察。(财富中文网)

    They say a good man is hard to find, but that's not the case in China, where men overwhelmingly outnumber women. The ratio of men of marriageable/dating age (15-30 years old) to every woman is 1.15 -- an unusual imbalance that's created a rat race of bachelors vying for the affections of a limited pool of young women. Many may want to marry, but never will.

    Oddly enough, China's lonely bachelors have actually helped the country experience extraordinary growth. And in the coming years, the trend will likely continue as the ratio gets progressively out of balance, said Columbia University professor Shang-Jin Wei recently at a symposium.

    Because of the imbalance, many women can cherry-pick their life partners. There's of course an ugly side, too: The shortage of young women has also driven prostitution and human trafficking in some parts of the country. Nonetheless, since men started outnumbering women in 2002, it has become almost an unspoken prerequisite for bachelors to have enough for a down payment on a home before attracting a wife. Which, in turn, has bred fierce competition among the male population.

    "Acquiring wealth becomes far more important," says Wei, director of the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business at Columbia. In fact, China's bachelors helped drive its growing housing market. Last year, Wei and other experts published a study that showed up to 48% or ($8 trillion worth) of the rise in property values across 35 major cities is linked to the country's gender imbalance.

    Over the past 10 years, China's economy has grown about 10% annually. Wei estimates the gender imbalance, on average, contributed 2 percentage points annually during that period. Investors often speculate how long China can grow at such a fast pace, and whether it's in for a hard landing.

    History suggests the growth has to slow. Typically when income per capita reaches about $17,000, growth on average starts declining about 2% a year. In China, income per capita in 2011 stood at $5,445. It will be some time before it reaches its peak, but growth has already started decelerating. In 2012, GDP growth slowed to 7.8% from 9.3% in 2011 and 10.4% in 2010.

    Yet the country's demographic kink could offset future slowdown, Wein says. Over the next 10 years, the male-to-female ratio will rise to 1.2 men per woman, in part, one of the many unintended consequences of China's three-decade-old policy limiting couples to one child in a culture where parents overwhelmingly favor males over females.

    To be sure, China has many other demographic challenges. It also has a rapidly aging population, which has contributed to the shortage of working-age people. And it remains to be seen how these obstacles will help or hurt its economy.

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