SINGAPORE: Singapore, which typically ranks highly in or even tops the indices covering the world’s richest countries, has plummeted to the 15th position in an index by The Economist. The country’s steep fall in the rankings is attributed to the fact that the index is adjusted for costs and hours worked.
Asserting that “comparing the wealth of nations is harder than you might think,” the British publication noted that the commonly used metric of dollar income per person fails to consider international variations in prices and the number of hours individuals dedicate to their work to earn their wage.
To offer a more comprehensive perspective, The Economist introduced a new global rich list incorporating three key measures: dollar income per person, adjusted income considering local prices (commonly referred to as purchasing-power parity, or ppp), and income per hour worked.
According to these metrics, Singapore initially took the 6th position when it was evaluated based on gross domestic product (GDP) per person in market rates but soared to the second position when the rankings were adjusted for cost differences.
However, its ranking soared to second place after adjustments for cost differences were applied. The ascent was short-lived, as Singapore took a drastic plunge to the 15th spot when further adjustments were made, factoring in both costs and the hours people worked to earn their wages.
The data published by The Economist exposes a surprising reality. Despite Singapore’s impressive GDP per person, the average earnings per hour worked by its citizens may be comparatively lower than those in other countries.
This suggests that Singaporeans may accumulate substantial incomes due to extended working hours rather than higher hourly wages. In contrast, the index indicates that citizens in other countries, while earning less overall, may benefit from higher earnings per hour as a result of working fewer hours in total.
Singapore’s position in this global rich list continues to spark debate and questions about the implications of long working hours on the nation’s economic landscape and the well-being of its workforce.