Brazil or Russia?
- Who tends to work shorter hours?
- Who takes longer lunch hours?
- Who watches more TV?
- Who is more likely to sleep 8 hours or more each night?
Brazil was the correct answer to every question.
My source of data was a Jana emerging markets survey. Gathering information during 2011 and 2012 from 11,687 respondents, their goal was to demonstrate how different cultures define “The Good Life.”
For me, though, the information illustrated just how much developing economies differ. Far from “one-size-fits-all,” the world economy has cultures that work harder and those that lunch more. In some places, 4 hours are an average night of sleep while elsewhere 8 are more typical. Also, where you vacation and how often you watch TV vary. It all depends on what you call home.
I wonder how much the information in Jana’s infographics (below) correspond to these World Bank growth projections for the developing world. Compared to the higher income nations, you can see that emerging markets could be fueling the world economy during the next several years. But might our specific data provide clues about which nations will lead?
Sources and Resources: I suggest looking at more of the Jana infographics here and here. For a more academic perspective, the World Bank report has the details and was the source of my growth table.
Posted by: adminEcon
Tags: Brazil, businesses, consumers, developing nations, emerging markets, India, Jana, lunch hour, night's sleep, Philippines, Russia, TV watching, vacation trips, work hours
In China, 1/2 liter of beer costs 9 minutes of work.
To calculate how many minutes of work it takes to buy beer in 150 countries, Swiss bank UBS researchers divided the median wage in that country by the price of 1/2 liter from a retailer. Their results? Beer drinking is most costly for workers in India (55 min.), Philippines (48 min.), Colombia (47 min.) and Nigeria (29 min.). At the other end of the list is the US (5 min.), Czech Republic (7 min.), Germany (8 min.), the Netherlands (9 min), and China (9 min.)
The UBS report reminded me that national beer consumption relates to affluence. According to the American Association of Wine Economists (yes, really) the connection between beer and per capita income is an upside down “U.” As individual incomes increase up to $22,000, so too does beer consumption. Then though, when wine and spirits become affordable, people move from beer to pricier liquor. Currently, nations with emerging markets represent two-thirds of the world’s beer consumption. (The ascent of China’s beer drinking curve in the graph below is striking.)
So, when anyone mentions beer, we can think about of purchasing power, economic growth and demand from the developing world.
A Final Fact: Beer has also been in the news as a source of government revenue. President Hollande just said France’s beer tax will rise by 160% to fund programs for young people and the elderly. Meanwhile, 2 years ago, after Russia spiked its beer tax by 200%, beer purchases declined.
Sources and Resources: This BBC article on the impact of the impending French beer tax was a good read as was the Economist’s details on the UBS beer cost study. More academic, the AAWE paper was the source of my beer drinking information about developing nations. Please note that all information from UBS and The Economist is current while data and the graph from the AAWE is from 2010 and before.
World Beer Consumption, 1961-2007
Posted by: adminEcon
Tags: American Association of Wine Economists, beer consumption, beer taxes, China, developing nations, economic growth, emerging markets, France, India, per capita income, purchasing power, Russia, The Economist, UBS, US
Sometimes it is tough to decide who really is #1.
Ask me who won the Olympics and I, as a former history teacher, might say the Mongol Empire.
If you were to outline the Mongol Empire (1280AD) on a map, 15 contemporary countries would be totally or partially included. Ranging from China to Tajikstan and including the Russian Federation and South Korea, those 15 nations won 285 medals.
The top 6 on my medals list would be:
|| MEDAL COUNT
Other yardsticks for naming Olympic winners?
Most people say that the US was first with the most medals (104) or because it got more gold (46) than anyone else. Then though, using the gold as our yardstick, for the 2008 Olympics, China, with 51 would have been named #1. Another possibility is to divide a nation’s GDP or its population by its medal count. Among the top winners, for GDP Russia is on top because it “spent” the least while Great Britain wins for the lowest number of people per medal
||MILLIONS OF PEOPLE PER MEDAL
|| $ BILLIONS OF GDP PER MEDAL
All of this took me to a New Yorker article from Malcolm Gladwell on ranking. Focusing primarily on the U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges,” he suggests that seemingly clear criteria for determining the “best” are tough to quantify and may not even be valid. when you look closely at them
For me, Gladwell’s conclusions apply also to the economy. Looking at income inequality among nations, happiness among US states, the top money managers on Wall Street or countless other topics, you will discover that the criteria for ranking them deserves a closer look.
Econlife looked more closely at ranking questions here. Also, a thanks to the WSJ Numbers Guy for the ideas and much of the data in this post and you might enjoy reading more about the historic empires that would have won the 20102 London Olympics.
Posted by: adminEcon
Tags: 2012 Olympics, all Olympic medals, China, gold medals, Great Britain, income inequality, London 2012, Malcolm Gladwell, ranking, Russia, US, US News and World Report, WSJ NUmbers Guy
What does it mean to be middle class?
For a developing nation like China, income might be the key. If someone earns between $10 and $50 a day, then that person is middle class. Or perhaps you just need to be able to buy a tall macchiato at a Starbucks or a shreddded pork and seaweed doughnut at Dunkin’ Donuts. Or maybe it just means owning a cell phone or eating meat regularly.
I’ve been reading about how economists have been trying to identify the most accurate and simple way to identify the growing middle class in the developing world. One answer that made a lot of sense is “cars.”
Car registration data indicate that car ownership is soaring in many developing nations. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) alone added 14 million cars in 2010. In China for 2010, 27 percent of all cars on the road were new registrations. If we use car ownership to estimate the size of the middle class in China, that takes us to 34.4 million passenger cars per household (averaging 3.1 people) and 106.6 individuals that might be called middle class.
Why look at the middle class? Because the middle class has been an economic growth engine, fueling small business formation, consumer spending, and market activities.
One interesting fact: There are 451 passenger vehicles per 1000 people in US while in China, the number is 27 per 1000 and for India, 10.
This Foreign Policy article is a good source for ideas that define the middle class and my car data, and then, if you want something more academic, you could continue with this OECD study. For a quick picture of the size of the middle class in different countries, this chart from The Economist is ideal.
If I were teaching in Uzbekistan instead of Summit, NJ, I might have received 10 Serbian chicks as a part of my salary. According to Radio Free Europe, the Uzbek government partially paid certain teachers and doctors with chicks. Their goal was to increase domestic production of eggs, milk, other dairy products and vegetables.
Elsewhere also, chickens represent more than a meal.
During the 1990s, during a food shortage, Russia accepted massive exports of surplus dark chicken meat from the US. Still today, dark meat in Russia is called Bush legs and associated with neediness.
For U.S. chicken raisers, Chinese love of chicken paws was a life saver. As a Purdue representative explained it, U.S. consumers loved the white meat. What to do with everything else? For years, inexpensive pet food was the answer. However, when Purdue discovered that the Chinese especially loved U.S. chicken paws, suddenly, they had a money maker. Large (Purdue) chicken breasts mean juicy feet and the Chinese like juicy feet.
We’ve accounted for the breasts, dark meat and paws. What about the wings? Maybe the Super Bowl?
Our bottom line: Chicken shortages and chicken surpluses relate to international trade. Citing comparative advantage, David Ricardo (1772-1823) said that trade enables nations to optimize efficiency and thereby increase world production and well-being. For U.S. chicken producers, exporting what had been waste certainly created value. With the Uzbeks, though, payment in imported Serbian chicks rather than money is a step backwards.
Radio Free Europe and the Atlantic tell more of the Uzbekistan chicken story. For the China and Russian chicken situation, Businessweek and Freakonomics explain. And here, econlife looks at chicken wings.