Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2013 (Revised April 2014)

Singapore's 'Mid-life Crisis'

by Richard H.K. Vietor and Hilary White


After 49 years of incredibly successful economic development, Singapore has again launched a new strategic thrus -- increase productivity, boosting skills of the labor force, and becoming a hub for cross-border activities in Asia. At the same time, the government is trying to deal with a number of demographic concerns. Its population has begun aging rapidly and its fertility rate is exceedingly low. Almost one-third of its population is non-Singaporean, putting pressure on housing, access to education and consumer durables. And its income inequality was deepening. While Prime Minister Lee recognized this “inflection point,” the question was could a government-led economy continue to develop while dealing effectively with these issues?

Keywords: Singapore; savings; investment; productivity growth; productivity; trade; Asia; economic institutions; economic growth; economic development; economics; Research and Development; government and business; government policy; economic policy; country analysis; Investment and savings; institutions; Economic Growth; Macroeconomics; Development Economics; Investment; Asia; Singapore; Southeast Asia;


Vietor, Richard H.K., and Hilary White. "Singapore's 'Mid-life Crisis'." Harvard Business School Case 714-039, December 2013. (Revised April 2014.)