WHEN China eased its one-child policy late last year, investors bet on a surge in demand for everything from pianos to nappies. They, and government officials, foresaw a mini-boom after long-constrained parents were allowed a second go at making babies.
So far, however, it is hard to identify a bedroom productivity burst. About 270,000 couples applied for permission to have second children by the end of May, and 240,000 received it, according to the national family-planning commission. It means China will fall well short of the 1m-2m extra births that Wang Peian, the deputy director of the commission, had predicted.
I noted at the time of the policy change that Chinese demographers were not expecting such an increase in births, but apparently not everyone was listening. And people are still expectant, even if women are not. The Economist suggests that the government was so worried about a surge in births that it made the application process cumbersome so that local hospitals would not be overburdened. So, if they can just make it a little easier to have a baby, that boom will surely come, right?