An average Pole consumes more than a Czech or a Slovak, although the per capita quota of domestic product is significantly lower. According to the Eurostat actual individual consumption index, expressed in purchasing power parity, Poland ranks higher than it would in a GDP-based ranking.
In 2013 in Poland , the AIC index – monitoring the consumption of foods and services by households – reached the value of as much as 75 percent of the UE average. This is more than in the case of countries with higher per capita GDP, such as Czech Republic (74 percent), Slovakia (74 percent) or Estonia (65 percent). In the same year, Poland had only 67 percent of the average per capita GDP in the EU, while Czech Republic had 82 percent, Slovakia – 75 percent and Estonia – 73 percent. Meanwhile, in Hungary – with a GDP similar to Poland (66 percent) – the AIC index had a value of just 62 percent of the EU average. Among countries of the region only Lithuania had a higher AIC index than Poland – 78 percent. The ranking is lead by Luxemburg (136 percent), Germany (122 percent) and Austria (120 percent). Romania (57 percent) and Bulgaria (49 percent) had the lowest values.
The actual individual consumption index is seen by Eurostat as an alternative method for more precise estimation of actual wealth, as it presents the value of consumed goods and services regardless of the sources of their financing. It has been adopted in EU member states as a better indication of the quality of life. GDP calculation does not include a.o.: the effects of the so-called grey and black markets, the profits from wealth acquired by households in previous terms and income from work abroad.
Using the AIC index as a basis for quality of life rankings allows Poland to achieve a significantly more positive result compare to neighboring countries. On the other hand, one has to remember that in the long-term this is not a phenomenon with a positive influence on the economy. Higher consumption means that the domestic savings rate is lower, which in turn causes investments to decrease. Thus, higher consumption has a positive impact on the continuous improvement of the quality of life, while also weakening the potential for economic growth.
Jacek Brzozowski, advisor to the President of Employers of Poland