Human development and inequality in the 20th Century : the Mercosur countries in a comparative perspective
AbstractThis article is in line with the United Nations attempts to approach human development in wider terms than per capita GDP, and in line with an ever lively debate on the historical standard of living and on the role of inequality in development. We focus on three Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay) and we view them in comparison with four core countries (France, Germany, USA and UK) along the 20th Century. The paper makes different attempts to construct diverse indices and to change the weights of their different components in order to better explain human development in different periods. A contribution of the paper, so long limited to Uruguay and the USA, is to adjust the historical human development index by inequality measures for all of its components. The results show that Argentine started to diverge, even in human development, at early stages of the 20th Century; that Uruguay diverged from the mid-century and that Brazil continued to tighten the gap up to 1980, diverging afterwards without being able to come close to the levels of the core countries. Total inequality in Uruguay and USA showed similar levels and trends: it decreased until the 1950s, and increased afterwards to similar levels. While inequality affects human development within both countries, it doesn’t help to understand the differences between them, due to the mentioned similarity of the Gini-coefficients.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number wp08-06.
Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Human development; Education; Life expectancy; Inequality; Catching-up; Domestic capabilities;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N36 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Latin America; Caribbean
- N56 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Latin America; Caribbean
- N76 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Latin America; Caribbean
- N96 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Latin America; Caribbean
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- O5 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
- Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-04-29 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2008-04-29 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HIS-2008-04-29 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-LAM-2008-04-29 (Central & South America)
- NEP-LTV-2008-04-29 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
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