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The Human Development Index: A History

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  • Elizabeth Stanton
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    Abstract

    This article recounts the intellectual history of the UNDP’s Human Development Index. It begins with the early history of welfare economics and follows this field through three successive revolutions in thought, culminating in the theory of human development. The first section traces this history from the origins of economic “utility” theory to Amartya Sen’s human capabilities approach. The second section chronicles past and present measures of social welfare used in the fields of economics and development, including national income and a variety of composite measures, up to and including HDI.

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    File URL: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_101-150/WP127.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp127.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp127

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    Keywords: human development; well-being; human development index; economic history of thought; social welfare measurement;

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    1. Cooter, Robert & Rappoport, Peter, 1984. "Were the Ordinalists Wrong about Welfare Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 507-30, June.
    2. Srinivasan, T N, 1994. "Human Development: A New Paradigm or Reinvention of the Wheel?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 238-43, May.
    3. Farhad Noorbakhsh, 1998. "The human development index: some technical issues and alternative indices," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(5), pages 589-605.
    4. Ramakrushna Panigrahi & Sashi Sivramkrishna, 2002. "An Adjusted Human Development Index: Robust Country Rankings with Respect to the Choice of Fixed Maximum and Minimum Indicator Values," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 301-311.
    5. Sudhir Anand & Amartya Sen, 2000. "The Income Component of the Human Development Index," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 83-106.
    6. Basudeb Biswas & Frank Caliendo, 2002. "A Multivariate Analysis of the Human Development Index," Working Papers 2002-11, Utah State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Miles Cahill, 2002. "Diminishing returns to GDP and the Human Development Index," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(13), pages 885-887.
    8. Humayon A. Dar, 2004. "On making human development more humane," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(11/12), pages 1071-1088, October.
    9. Guido Luchters & Lukas Menkhoff, 2000. "Chaotic signals from HDI measurement," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 267-270.
    10. Sadequl Islam, 1995. "The human development index and per capita GDP," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(5), pages 166-167.
    11. Hicks, Norman & Streeten, Paul, 1979. "Indicators of development: The search for a basic needs yardstick," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 567-580, June.
    12. Slottje, Daniel J, 1991. "Measuring the Quality of Life across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 684-93, November.
    13. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Good and bad growth: The human development reports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 631-638, May.
    14. Satya Paul, 1996. "A modified human development index and international comparison," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(10), pages 677-682.
    15. Sen, Amartya, 1981. "Public Action and the Quality of Life in Developing Countries," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 43(4), pages 287-319, November.
    16. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    17. Sudhir Anand and Amartya Sen, 2000. "The Income Component of Human Development Index," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-2000-01, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    18. Dasgupta, Partha & Weale, Martin, 1992. "On measuring the quality of life," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 119-131, January.
    19. Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
    20. Streeten, Paul, 1994. "Human Development: Means and Ends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 232-37, May.
    21. Julie Nelson, 2004. "Freedom, Reason, and More: Feminist economics and human development," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 309-333.
    22. Krishna Mazumdar, 2003. "A New Approach to Human Development Index," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(4), pages 535-549.
    23. D. P. Doessel & Rukmani Gounder, 1994. "Theory and measurement of living levels: Some empirical results for the human development index," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 415-435, 07.
    24. Aturupane, Harsha & Glewwe, Paul & Isenman, Paul, 1994. "Poverty, Human Development, and Growth: An Emerging Consensus?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 244-49, May.
    25. Ram, Rati, 1982. "Composite indices of physical quality of life, basic needs fulfilment, and income : A principal component representation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 227-247, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gisselquist, Rachel M., 2013. "Evaluating governance indexes: Critical and less critical questions," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Nayak, Purusottam & Mishra, SK, 2012. "Efficiency of Pena’s P2 Distance in Construction of Human Development Indices," MPRA Paper 39022, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nayak, Purusottam, 2013. "Methodological Developments in Human Development Literature," MPRA Paper 50608, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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