Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pew Survey 2014: Pakistanis Report Progress, Pessimism

The number of Pakistanis reporting they are better off now has increased from 25% in 2002 to 51% in 2014, according to Pew Research Center report from its 43-nation survey on life satisfaction around the world. However, only 36% of those surveyed in Pakistan express personal optimism over the next five years.

Among Pakistan's neighbors, 44% of Indians and 34% of Bangladeshis say they are now better off. Large majorities of Bangladeshis, Thais, Indonesians, Chinese, Filipinos and Indians expect their life in five years to be higher on the ladder than it is today. Pakistanis are considerably less sanguine about the future, but many say they don’t know where they will stand in five years (32%).

Here the key findings of the survey:

 1. On average, people in richer countries in America and Europe are generally happier than those in poorer, less developed countries.

 2. People in emerging economies, particularly in Indonesia, China, Pakistan and Malaysia with double-digit increases, are catching up with the sense of well-being expressed in richer countries.

3. Money isn’t everything.  People prioritize nonmaterial things – such as good health and a quality education for their child – as most important in life.

4. Social and political upheaval takes a heavy toll on individuals’ life satisfaction. The survey particularly cites declining life satisfaction in Egypt and Ukraine.

5. People in Asia and Africa are the most optimistic about the future – Middle Easterners are the least.

There is significant data to support Pakistanis belief that they are now better off than in 2002 or 2007.

Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future.

Source: ADB
New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise described the rise of Pakistan's middle class in a story from Pakistani town of Muzaffargarh in the following words:

For years, feudal lords reigned supreme, serving as the police, the judge and the political leader. Plantations had jails, and political seats were practically owned by families.

Instead of midwifing democracy, these aristocrats obstructed it, ignoring the needs of rural Pakistanis, half of whom are still landless and desperately poor more than 60 years after Pakistan became a state.

But changes began to erode the aristocrats’ power. 
Cities sprouted, with jobs in construction and industry. Large-scale farms eclipsed old-fashioned plantations. Vast hereditary lands splintered among generations of sons, and many aristocratic families left the country for cities, living beyond their means off sales of their remaining lands. Mobile labor has also reduced dependence on aristocratic families.

In Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and its most economically advanced, the number of national lawmakers from feudal families shrank to 25 percent in 2008 from 42 percent in 1970, according to a count conducted by Mubashir Hassan, a former finance minister, and The New York Times.

“Feudals are a dying breed,” said S. Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based fellow with the Carnegie Foundation. “They have no power outside the walls of their castles.”

GeoTV is illustrating  this welcome phenomenon of upward social mobility in Pakistan with a series of motivational "Zara  Sochiey" videos on young men and women who have risen from humble origins to achieve significant successes in recent years. Each individual portrayed in the series has overcome adversity and  focused on acquiring education as a ticket to improve his or her economic and social situation.

GeoTV videos feature a number of young men and women, including Saima Bilal, Kashif Faiq,  Qaisar Abbas and many others, to inspire and encourage other Pakistanis to pursue their dreams against all odds.

Contrary to the incessant talk of doom and gloom, the fact is that the level of educational attainment has been rising in recent decades.  In fact, Pakistan has been increasing enrollment of students in schools at a faster rate since 1990 than India, according to data compiled and reported by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jhong-Wa Lee . In 1990, there were 66.2% of Pakistanis vs 51.6% of Indians in 15+ age group who had had no schooling. In 2000, there were 60.2% Pakistanis vs 43% Indians with no schooling. In 2010, Pakistan reduced it to 38% vs India's 32.7%.

As of 2010, there are 380 (vs 327 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis age 15 and above who have never had any formal schooling. Of the remaining 620 (vs 673 Indians) who enrolled in school, 22 (vs 20 Indians) dropped out before finishing primary school, and the remaining 598 (vs 653 Indians) completed it. There are 401 (vs 465 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis who made it to secondary school. 290 (vs 69 Indians)  completed secondary school  while 111 (vs. 394 Indians) dropped out. Only 55 (vs 58 Indians)  made it to college out of which 39 (vs 31 Indians) graduated with a degree.

Education and development efforts  are beginning to bear fruit even in remote areas of Pakistan, including Federally Administered Tribal Areas.  The Guardian newspaper recently reported that FATA's Bajaur agency alone has 616 school with over 60,000 boys and girls receiving take-home rations. Two new university campuses have been approved for FATA region and thousands of kilometers of new roads are being constructed. After a recent visit to FATA, Indian journalist Hindol Sengupta wrote in The Hindu newspaper that "even Bajaur has a higher road density than India"

 Prior to significant boost in public spending on education during Musharraf years, the number of private schools in Pakistan grew 10 fold from about 3000 in 1983 to over 30,000 in 2000. Primary school enrollment in 1983 has increased 937%, far greater than the 57% population increase in the last two decades.

Unfortunately, there has been a decline in public spending on education since 2008, even as not-for-profit private sector organizations, mostly NGOs, have stepped up  to try to fill the gap.  Last year, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including PIA, the national airline that continues to sustain huge losses.

Clearly, this is not the time for Pakistan's political leadership to let up on the push for universal education. The momentum that developed in Musharraf years needs to be maintained, even accelerated to get to the goal of 100% literacy and 100% enrollment of all children in Pakistan. Nothing less will do if Pakistan is to achieve economic competitiveness on the global stage.

Here's a CNN video of shopping in Karachi:

Related Links:


Anonymous said...

People in emerging markets are happier than they’ve been in years, according to a Pew Research Center study. That assessment comes despite the gloomy march of capital out of emerging markets and the Fed calling it quits on the easy money that’s spurred growth there. So what’s the twist? They’re richer–or at least feel that way.

Richer countries, on average, report being happier, the study shows. This holds both on a national and individual level. Asians are the most optimistic of the bunch, with some of the biggest gains in perceived well-being from 2007 to 2014 in Indonesia, China, Pakistan and Malaysia.

Pew conducted the survey in 43 countries by asking where people rate themselves on a “ladder of life” scale from zero to 10.

While wealth isn’t the only ingredient of happiness, “material well-being” had the biggest effect on overall happiness, the report said. Other lesser factors are economic—such as job satisfaction and living standards—and personal—such as family, friends and religion.

Life satisfaction also rose in countries with higher GDP growth during the study’s seven-year span. Malaysia, which had one of the fastest growth rates since 2007, boasted some of biggest leaps in life satisfaction, according to the report. This is nowhere more evident than in China, where GDP grew by an average of 10% and the rate of increase in life satisfaction from 2007 to 2014 was one of the fastest among emerging markets.

The study also shows that well-being in emerging markets now rivals that of advanced economies. Encouragingly, the happiness convergence isn’t because people in richer countries are less satisfied. Rather, personal well-being held steady in most wealthy nations from 2007 to 2014. Israel, the U.S., Germany and the U.K. top the happiness charts among advanced economies.

Middle Easterners were the least optimistic when asked about the next five years, with Egypt and Jordan showing the largest dip in satisfaction since 2007, which the report pins on social and political unrest.

Still, “the richer, the happier” correlation holds only up to a point: The perk of wealth tends to taper among richer nations, suggesting that climbing incomes move the needle less at the outer boundary.

Haider said...

I dont know, how to process this information. Higher sense of well being but future Pessimism? Does this mean that my countrymen, think they are better now, than they would be, in the future?

Riaz Haq said...

Haider: "I dont know, how to process this information. Higher sense of well being but future Pessimism? Does this mean that my countrymen, think they are better now, than they would be, in the future?"

Their current sense of well-being is based on the past while their optimism, or the lack of it, is about the future. 36% are optimistic while 32% are uncertain and 14% are pessimistic, and the rest didn't answer.

Basel said...

What is the difference between developing and emerging countries?

Riaz Haq said...

Basel: "What is the difference between developing and emerging countries?"

The classification of countries by Pew appears to be based on per capita income; high-income are "developed", middle-income "emerging" and low-income "developing" countries.

Sandy said...

what was the size of the dataset.

Riaz Haq said...

Sandy: "what was the size of the dataset"

Country: Pakistan
Sample design: Multi-stage cluster sample stratified by province and urbanity
Mode: Face-to-face adults 18 plus
Languages: Urdu, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi
Fieldwork dates: April 15 – May 7, 2014
Sample size: 1,203
Margin of error: +/-4.2 percentage points
Representative: Adult population (excluding the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir for security reasons, areas of instability in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [formerly the North-West Frontier Province] and Baluchistan, military restricted areas and villages with less than 100 inhabitants – together, roughly 18% of the population). Disproportionately urban. The data were weighted to reflect the actual urbanity distribution in Pakistan.

Country: India
Sample design: Multi-stage cluster sample stratified by region and urbanity
Mode: Face-to-face adults 18 plus
Languages: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, Odia
Fieldwork dates: April 14 – May 1, 2014
Sample size: 2,464
Margin of error: +/-3.1 percentage points
Representative: Adult population in 15 of the 17 most populous states (Kerala and Assam were excluded) and the Union Territory of Delhi (roughly 91% of the population). Disproportionately urban. The data were weighted to reflect the actual urbanity distribution in India.

Mahesh said...

India a factory to the world by 2020 ?
CNN 09/03/2014
As China looks to wean its economy off a heavy dependence on investment and exports, India is embarking on the very same growth model that could see the South Asia nation assuming the role of the world's factory floor within the next decade.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has articulated in recent speeches and through policy actions that Asia's third largest economy is in need of a growth model which centers on export-oriented manufacturing, heavy infrastructure building and urbanization.

"This suggests a shift from India's current services-driven growth trajectory to an East Asian growth model based on the mass deployment of labor and capital," Sanjeev Sanyal, global strategist at Deustche Bank wrote in a report.

If India succeeds, it has the potential to become the factory of the world, Sanyal said in an interview with CNBC, a role assumed by China in the past decade.

Iqbal Singh said...

This India-Pakistan comparison is vastly overdone. Mr Haq and various posters (myself included) are in this vicious cycle and there seems no end to it. I have come to certain conclusions.

The inter nation conflict may never get resolved.

Conflict in one nation affects both countries.

Deprivation and illiteracy in either country makes its' citizens prone to fanaticism and violence which also hurts both countries.

Economic success in either country benefits both countries.

Statistics are a snapshot in the past and it does not predict future.

While it may feel good to bring the opponent country down it really doesn't help either country.

Haider said...

Sir, economically it may be somewhat correct, but given the lawlessness and other factors of social deterioration, the quality of life is going down, and the future indicators are bleak indeed, no matter how you may try to spin them

Riaz Haq said...

Haidar: "Sir, economically it may be somewhat correct, but given the lawlessness and other factors of social deterioration, the quality of life is going down, and the future indicators are bleak indeed, no matter how you may try to spin them"

Yes, there are problems mainly due to crime and terrorism but such things are not uncommon among developing and emerging nations. In fact, Pakistan is better than many other similar countries in terms of violence.

Just look at Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela, South Africa, Mexico, Honduras, Chad, Dominican Republic, Central African Republic and Sudan which rank as the the world's 10 most dangerous countries in terms of Progress Index 2014 personal safety component.

Riaz Haq said...

From Telenor Pakistan CEO in Newsweek Pakistan:

Pakistan is a vibrant, rich society full of potential and the means to realize it. It is much more than what the headlines in the Western media often convey. Despite its challenges, and all investments are challenging, it is a haven for foreign investment. The success of our company, Telenor Pakistan, testifies to this reality.

Telenor is Norwegian and operates across Europe and Asia as one of the world’s leading telecom and digital service providers. And Telenor Pakistan is very much a Pakistani success story. In March, we will mark a decade since our launch in the market here. When we started, we were the sixth entrant in the telecom sector. Today, with 36 million GSM customers alone, we now vie for leadership in a highly competitive sector.

We are bullish about Pakistan and our commitment to it is profound. We are in the process of building our new head office here with an investment of $70 million. We have, so far, invested $2.2 billion in Pakistan, and we expect our investment in the coming years to be of the same order of magnitude. We have just invested in a new 3G license and are deploying 3G sites around the country in both urban and rural areas every month. The spectrum auction conducted this year was executed with the highest level of professionalism and transparency, conditions that allowed participants to make bids with the greatest confidence in the process. Pakistan’s progressive approach to telecom is publicly recognized: on Oct. 27, Pakistan was elected to the ITU Council, the telecom industry’s global governing body.

The country has a deep pool of talent in all disciplines. The universities deliver great people to our doorstep year after year. Of the 2,800 or so direct employees of Telenor Pakistan, 2,798 are Pakistani nationals. We export more of our talent to the Telenor Group than any other business unit in our worldwide family of companies. This place is a goldmine of winners with an overwhelming desire for personal achievement and, in our company, a desire to build an empowered Pakistan.

Pakistan’s telecom sector is taking the lead in ensuring financial inclusion, an essential driver of economic growth and international competiveness, can be attained. We are contributing to the formalization of the economy through EasyPaisa, an award-winning suite of services in partnership with Tameer Microfinance Bank Limited. We transit close to Rs. 500 billion every year through EasyPaisa, which has a customer base of over 6 million. EasyPaisa is growing every day, thanks in no small part to the State Bank of Pakistan, a visionary financial services regulator and growth catalyst.

The data business is still essentially nascent. Our growth has been enabled by the dynamic regulatory environment that Pakistan offers foreign investors. We have been able to actively pursue our vision of empowering societies through our GSM and financial services with the assistance of the progressive, business-friendly policies of successive governments.

Our journey in Pakistan has been rewarding but not without its difficulties. The telecom sector’s success has been made possible because our voice, and the voice of the industry, is heard by the government, the regulators and state agencies when we discuss ways to evolve economic, industrial, fiscal, and taxation policies. We have always found open doors to address grievances and to find ways and means to increase our impact on society and the economy.

We have found in Pakistan not just a thriving market but a home that rewards our industry and recognizes and embraces foreign investment as critical to fulfilling the country’s economic aspirations. As an investor, you couldn’t ask for more.

Foley is president and CEO of Telenor Pakistan. From our Nov. 1-15, 2014, issue.

Riaz Haq said...

Back in 1960s, distinguished American economist Arthur Okun defined misery index as sum of inflation and unemployment rates. America's high misery index was cited by candidate Jimmy Carter as a reason to elect him president in his 1976 presidential race against President Gerald R. Ford. The Cato Institute has now revived it by adding interest rates to the sum of inflation and unemployment rates and subtracting per capita GDP growth rate from it.

Pakistan ranks #42 (index 24.5) on world misery index 2014, better than India at #30 (index 21.3)

Riaz Haq said...

From Express Tribune:

Karachi Stock Exchange’s (KSE) benchmark 100-share index increased 369 points to reach 31,299.97 points, Express News reported on Monday.

Since the start of trading today, shares of 200 companies increased while shares of 44 companies declined.

The previous peak of 30,593 points came on November 5 which analysts credited to falling inflation and commodity prices as well as to easing of political tensions.

Official data has showed that inflation had plunged to a 17-month low, raising investors’ hopes that the central bank might slash the basic interest rate in its next review.

The country’s long-moribund economy has shown some glimmers of revival under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government.

Ratings agency Moody’s upgraded the country’s outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’ in July, citing its improving external liquidity position and commitment to reforms.

Riaz Haq said...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Berlin. Sharif is keen for German investment, but Merkel expressed wariness over the security situation in Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif and Angela Merkel walk past an honor guard
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday and held talks that focused mainly on trade and fighting terrorism. In a press conference, Sharif told reporters how keen his nation is for German investment, although Merkel cited security concerns in her own comments.
"Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of energy," Sharif said before praising Germany's role as a leader in renewable energy and adding that several German firms were keen to invest in Pakistani power companies. However, Merkel said that Pakistan needed to create "a climate that is friendly for investors," meaning that it must beef up its security if it seeks an increased German stake its economy.
Germany is Pakistan's fourth-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade amounted to 1.9 billion euros in 2013. Although Germany's economic involvement in Pakistan has been primarily in the form of exports; specifically chemical products, machinery, and vehicles, Pakistan is courting German investors not only for the energy industry, but in the agricultural and environmental sectors as well.
Stopping terrorists 'at all costs'
Merkel's concerns stem from the fact that Pakistan has been plagued by Islamist violence since it backed the US-led coalition to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. Sharif assured Merkel that his country would "overcome terrorism at all costs."
Shortly before Sharif left for Berlin, he assured Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that he supported Ghani's offer to hold peace talks with the Taliban, who also control some parts of Pakistan along the border. The countries have been urged to improve their relations.
The German chancellor echoed Sharif's hope for a safe Afghanistan, saying: "We want as much as you do that what has been achieved in Afghanistan is not threatened ... a stable Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan."
Merkel also confirmed on Tuesday that the German army will remain in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission comes to an end in December. Some 800 Bundeswehr soliders will remain to train and advise the Afghan military.

Riaz Haq said...

Punjab and Sindh provinces in Pakistan are public-ising their private schools (and they’re also privatising their public schools)

Back in 2015 the Economist published an article called “Learning Unleashed”, which breathlessly declared Punjab, Pakistan to be the “new standard bearer for market-based education reform”. No matter there isn’t really any evidence that learning has been improved, never mind unleashed, what the article described is just about the opposite of a market-based reform. Through voucher and subsidy schemes, Punjab’s government injects public finance into private schools. Similarly, in the southern province of Sindh, the state is fully financing the education of hundreds of thousands of kids enrolled in private schools. And in both provinces it is the state, not the market, that sets the rules of the game.

Kids in Pakistan’s schools aren’t learning. And they’re the lucky ones who are actually in school
Test scores suggest that children in Pakistan are performing well below curricular standards. Although, unlike in India, their test scores have not worsened over time, like almost every other developing country they are not improving. Data from ASER makes for grim reading: less than a third of grade five children from the wealthiest quintile have the numeracy and literacy skills that are expected of a child in grade two. Just 17 percent of grade five kids from the poorest quintile can read a single sentence. Remember, these are the kids who managed to make it to grade five – in other words, they’ve sat through at least five years of schooling and 83 percent of them still can’t read a sentence.

As for those who aren’t in school, Pakistan’s Bureau of Statistics estimates that there are 5.6 million primary age out-of-school kids (note that this figure is based on the 1998 census, and so the true number could well be substantially higher or lower).

The twin ”crises”of low and static test scores, combined with millions of kids not in school, has led to a proliferation of education reforms. These include policies that aim to harness the vibrant and growing private education sector.

With education in crisis, government turned to the private sector for help
Provincial leaders in Punjab and Sindh are taking bold steps to reform their failing education systems. They’ve moved fast, particularly in Punjab where the Economist’s Learning Unleashed article is framed and proudly mounted on several government office walls.

Together, the PPPs in Punjab and Sindh make up one of the largest and fastest-growing public private partnerships in the world. More than three million kids in the two provinces are enrolled in around ten thousand private primary schools, with the cost of their education fully financed by the state. They’re managed by semi-autonomous entities, the Sindh Education Foundation and the Punjab Education Foundation, whose funding is almost entirely provided by their provincial governments.