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Divergences and Convergences in Human Development

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  • David Mayer-Foulkes

    ()
    (Division de Economia of the Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, Mexico City)

Abstract

I conduct a cross-country analysis of the human development index (HDI) components, income, life expectancy, literacy and gross enrolment ratios, using Gray and PurserÕs 1970-2005 quinquennial database for 111 countries. 1) A descriptive analysis uncovers a complex pattern of divergence and convergence for these componentsÕ evolution. Development is not a smooth process but consists of a series of superposed transitions each taking off with increasing divergence and then converging. 2) Absolute divergence/convergence for the HDI components is decomposed using simultaneous growth regressions including a full set of quadratic interactions between the HDI components, and indicators of urbanization, trade, institutions, foreign direct investment and physical geography. These are implemented, first, using three stage least squares, all of the non-exogenous independent variables fully instrumented, and second, as independent regressions with errors clustered by countries, again all non-exogenous variables instrumented. 3) A set of quantile regressions is run for the HDI component levels on the same variables (just the linear terms), again fully instrumented. Urbanization is a leading significant variable for human development indicators in both sets of estimates, stronger than trade, FDI and institutional indicators. These indicators act with ambiguous signs that may result from their distributive impacts, reducing their effectiveness. The results indicate that improving markets will have smaller returns than complementing them with institutions that can coordinate urbanization as well as investment in human capital. Urbanization itself can provide a concrete agenda for development involving all aspects of economic, political and social life as well as human development.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its series Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) with number HDRP-2010-20.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Publication status: Published as background research for the 2010 Human Development Report.
Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2010-20

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Keywords: human development; growth; convergence; divergence; urbanization;

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References

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  1. Ram, Rati, 2006. "State of the "life span revolution" between 1980 and 2000," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 518-526, August.
  2. Castellacci, Fulvio, 2008. "Technology clubs, technology gaps and growth trajectories," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 301-314, December.
  3. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions over Geography and Integration in Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 9305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ryan D. Edwards, 2010. "Trends in World Inequality in Life Span Since 1970," NBER Working Papers 16088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink, 2008. "Population Aging and Economic Growth," PGDA Working Papers 3108, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  6. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Bloom, David E & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2003. " Geography and Poverty Traps," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 355-78, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Asongu, Simplice, 2014. "Fresh Patterns of Liberalization, Bank Return and Return Uncertainty in Africa," MPRA Paper 56813, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2011. "Human development in Africa : a long-run perspective," Working Papers in Economic History wp11-09, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  3. Asongu Simplice, 2012. "African Development: Beyond Income Convergence," Working Papers 12/002, African Governance and Development Institute..
  4. David Mayer-Foulkes, 2011. "A Causal Panorama of Cross-Country Human Development," DEGIT Conference Papers c016_049, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  5. Michael Binder & Georgios Georgiadis, 2011. "Determinants of Human Development: Capturing the Role of Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 3397, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Michael Binder & Georgios Georgiadis, 2010. "Determinants of Human Development: Insights from State-Dependent Panel Models," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-24, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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