Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Singapore is not serious ..."

The above is the title of a post by The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer that took a look at the actual subsidies, mentioned in passing in the recent post on Singaporean population policy. Briefly, even the various financial incentives offered by the Singaporean government--heavily subsidized fertility treatments, baby bonuses and tax incentives, child care subsidies--aren't that significant relative to the costs of parenthood.

[T]he median income in Singapore is $28,800 per year. For a couple with two children, you get a one-time gift of $9,600. Then you get $5,760 for day care ... which drops in half when the child is no longer an infant. (And does not get you much unless day care is much cheaper than in the United States. Unlicensed housefront operations in Queens Licensed home operations in Upper Manhattan cost more than about $480 a month.) Our hypothetical two-income couple has an income tax liability of $2,232 (calculated using this chart from the Singaporean tax authorities) which unless I am greatly misunderstanding means that the value of the subsidy is effectively capped.

Total annual payments: a one-time first-year gift of $12,792, followed by $5,112 per year until the child enters school. Life-changing, this is not. And worse yet, if you needed fertility treatments, which most older couples do, you needed to think about the cost. (Israel does it differently.)

This is not serious.


Jesse said...

If Singapore were to stop their current pro-natal policies and instead use the money to pay for fertility treatments for citizens who wanted that, would this result in a higher TFR? Are there other policies that could produce a higher TFR for less money, or do they simply need to spend more to get the desired outcome?

Anonymous said...

Slightly offtopic, ten doctors were arrested in Bucharest for ovule trafficking. No ethical standards were set in place. The same doctors will charge a lot the Israelis infertile couples and pay close to nothing, not even as much as a month of work, to the Romanian donors. That was not sustainable.