China's gender imbalance may have contributed as much as 2% to its annual GDP growth. Can it continue?
FORTUNE -- 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.
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"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.
“赚钱变得越来越重要了” 哥伦比亚大学Jerome A. Chazen国际商学院的负责人魏（教授）说道。事实上，中国单身汉推动了楼市的增长，去年，魏（教授）和其他专家发表的研究表明，中国性别比例失衡与其35个主要城市飙升48%（约合8万亿美元）之间存在联系。
（译注：Jerome A. Chazen是 Chazen Capital Partners的创始人和董事长。于1991年向哥伦比亚大学捐赠1千万美元在该校开办了以其名字命名的国际商学院）
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.
So let's get this straight- competition for eligible women has driven Chinese men to greater and greater levels of economic performance.
So what happens to the losers? The guys that don't live happily ever after, do you think they'll just keep working harder and harder without a family or a wife?
Anyone who thinks this is a good economic model is fooling himself- all you are doing is putting a dollar value (yuan?) on women and it'll go to the highest bidder. In biology this isn't a good strategy, peacocks pay for relationship competitiveness with significantly more endangered bodies.
What happens to the losers? They go on stabbing sprees at elementary schools.?
@starlyn "In China, income per capita in 2011 stood at $5,445." THAT sure sounds like winning.?
Dont be foolish.... Income Per capita means squat, when in the USA you have to borrow 1 trillion a year to get your high per capita income?
nobody "THINKS" this is a good economic model : IT IS. 10% GROWTH EVERY YEAR is not enough for u? while the USA is not just lost the economic battle, but is more debt, less jobs every year, dollar value keep going down, education, health, culture and human rights non existent... yea right we doing great.?
Right, if GDP was the only measure of economic health.?
But don't forget wealth gap.?
Also, this growth was largely driven by demographics, much like the 80's and 90's in America with 25-35 year old boomers.
The difference is China is aging far more rapidly, and could slow down much harder 5-7 years from now.?
I agree. Better looking American women =economic growth. Someone call the President.?
Those who did not abort their females are now laughing.
Classic contrarian investing.
Next up, India.
-- so clearly did they need stronger government in this area.?
GMO and Vaccinations are not gender specific.
UNelected nations needs to send in Blue Helmet abortionists.?
gender-selective infanticide should be a crime punishable by death of both father and mother?
Chinese Oligarchs are efficiently, and profitably, replacing the Serfs.
To boost the economy, we need that here.?