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Mass car ownership in the emerging market giants


  • Marcos Chamon
  • Paolo Mauro
  • Yohei Okawa


"The typical urban household in China owns a TV, a refrigerator, a washing machine, and a computer, but does not yet own a car. In this paper, we draw on data for a panel of countries and detailed household level surveys for the largest emerging markets to document a remarkably stable relationship between GDP per capita and car ownership, highlighting the importance of within-country income distribution factors: we find that car ownership is low up to per capita incomes of about US$5000 and then takes off very rapidly. Several emerging markets, including India and China, the most populous countries in the world, are currently at the stage of development when such takeoff is expected to take place. We project that the number of cars will increase by 2.3 billion between 2005 and 2050, with an increase by 1.9 billion in emerging market and developing countries. We outline a number of possible policy options to deal with the implications for the countries affected and the world as a whole." Copyright (c) International Monetary Fund, 2008.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcos Chamon & Paolo Mauro & Yohei Okawa, 2008. "Mass car ownership in the emerging market giants," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 243-296, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:23:y:2008:i::p:243-296

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhu, Charles & Zhu, Yiliang & Lu, Rongzhu & He, Ren & Xia, Zhaolin, 2012. "Perceptions and aspirations for car ownership among Chinese students attending two universities in the Yangtze Delta, China," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 315-323.
    2. Qian, Lixian & Soopramanien, Didier, 2014. "Using diffusion models to forecast market size in emerging markets with applications to the Chinese car market," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 1226-1232.
    3. Doucette, Reed T. & McCulloch, Malcolm D., 2011. "Modeling the CO2 emissions from battery electric vehicles given the power generation mixes of different countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 803-811, February.
    4. Doucette, Reed T. & McCulloch, Malcolm D., 2011. "Modeling the prospects of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(7), pages 2315-2323, July.
    5. Tomas Hellebrandt & Paolo Mauro, 2015. "The Future of Worldwide Income Distribution," Working Paper Series WP15-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    6. Choudhary, Ravi & Vasudevan, Vinod, 2017. "Study of vehicle ownership for urban and rural households in India," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 52-58.
    7. Chen, Yan & Lu, Fangwen & Zhang, Jinan, 2017. "Social comparisons, status and driving behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 11-20.
    8. Lei Yang & Caixia Hao & Yina Chai, 2018. "Life Cycle Assessment of Commercial Delivery Trucks: Diesel, Plug-In Electric, and Battery-Swap Electric," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-21, December.
    9. repec:kap:transp:v:45:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11116-016-9755-x is not listed on IDEAS
    10. He, Sylvia Y. & Th√łgersen, John, 2017. "The impact of attitudes and perceptions on travel mode choice and car ownership in a Chinese megacity: The case of Guangzhou," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 57-67.
    11. Wang, Yunshi & Teter, Jacob & Sperling, Daniel, 2011. "China's soaring vehicle population: Even greater than forecasted?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3296-3306, June.
    12. Lian Lian & Wen Tian & Hongfeng Xu & Menglan Zheng, 2018. "Modeling and Forecasting Passenger Car Ownership Based on Symbolic Regression," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(7), pages 1-16, July.
    13. Tomas Hellebrandt & Paolo Mauro, 2015. "The Future of Worldwide Income Distribution," LIS Working papers 635, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    14. Yang, Zhenshan & Jia, Peng & Liu, Weidong & Yin, Hongchun, 2017. "Car ownership and urban development in Chinese cities: A panel data analysis," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 127-134.
    15. Mohajan, Haradhan, 2015. "Sustainable Development Policy of Global Economy," MPRA Paper 82815, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Mar 2015.
    16. Tomas Hellebrandt & Paolo Mauro, 2015. "World on the Move: The Changing Global Income Distribution and Its Implications for Consumption Patterns and Public Policies," Policy Briefs PB15-21, Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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