Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Troubling tradeoffs in the Human Development Index

Contents:

Author Info

  • Ravallion, Martin

Abstract

The 20th Human Development Report has introduced a new version of its famous Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI aggregates country-level attainments in life expectancy, schooling and income per capita. Each year's rankings by the HDI are keenly watched in both rich and poor countries. The main change in the 2010 HDI is that it relaxes its past assumption of perfect substitutability between its three components. However, most users will probably not realize that the new HDI has also greatly reduced its implicit weighton longevity in poor countries, relative to rich ones. A poor country experiencing falling life expectancy due to (say) a collapse in its health-care system could still see its HDI improve with even a small rate of economic growth. By contrast, the new HDI's valuations of the gains from extra schooling seem unreasonably high -- many times greater than the economic returns to schooling. These troubling tradeoffs could have been largely avoided using a different aggregation function for the HDI, while still allowing imperfect substitution. While some difficult value judgments are faced in constructing and assessing the HDI, making its assumed tradeoffs more explicit would be a welcome step.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2010/11/29/000158349_20101129085041/Rendered/PDF/WPS5484.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5484.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5484

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Email:
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Inequality; Rural Poverty Reduction; Labor Policies; Debt Markets;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Psacharopoulos, George & Patrinos, Harry Anthony, 2002. "Returns to investment in education : a further update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2881, The World Bank.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Duflo, Esther, 2005. "Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 473-552 Elsevier.
  3. Ravallion, Martin, 2010. "Price levels and economic growth : making sense of the PPP changes between ICP rounds," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5229, The World Bank.
  4. Dowrick, Steve & Dunlop, Yvonne & Quiggin, John, 2003. "Social indicators and comparisons of living standards," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 501-529, April.
  5. repec:reg:wpaper:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Ravallion, Martin, 2011. "On multidimensional indices of poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5580, The World Bank.
  7. W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Aldy, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," NBER Working Papers 9487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Jeni Klugman & Francisco Rodríguez & Hyung-Jin Choi, 2011. "The HDI 2010: new controversies, old critiques," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 249-288, June.
  10. Gary S. Becker & Tomas J. Philipson & Rodrigo R. Soares, 2003. "The Quantity and Quality of Life and the Evolution of World Inequality," NBER Working Papers 9765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Martin Ravallion, 2012. "Mashup Indices of Development," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 27(1), pages 1-32, February.
  12. Sieds, 2010. "Complete Volume LXIV n.3 2010," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 0(3), pages 1-177.
  13. Satya R. Chakravarty, 2003. "A Generalized Human Development Index," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 99-114, February.
  14. 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).
  15. Desai, Meghnad, 1991. "Human development : Concepts and measurement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2-3), pages 350-357, April.
  16. Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
  17. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Good and bad growth: The human development reports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 631-638, May.
  18. AfDB AfDB, 2010. "MDG Report 2010 - Full Report," MDG Report 100, African Development Bank.
  19. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Hendrik Wolff & Howard Chong & Maximilian Auffhammer, 2010. "Classification, Detection and Consequences of Data Error: Evidence from the Human Development Index," NBER Working Papers 16572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Sieds, 2010. "Complete Volume LXIV n.4 2010," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - Italian Review of Economics, Demography and Statistics, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 0(4), pages 1-287.
  22. Dowrick, Steve & Dunlop, Yvonne & Quiggin, John, 1998. " The Cost of Life Expectancy and the Implicit Social Valuation of Life," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(4), pages 673-91, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Eduardo Zambrano, 2014. "An axiomatization of the human development index," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 853-872, April.
  2. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2011. "Human Development in Africa: A Long-Run Perspective," Working Papers 0008, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  3. BOSMANS, Kristof & DECANCQ, Koen & OOGHE, Erwin, 2013. "What do normative indices of multidimensional inequality really measure?," CORE Discussion Papers 2013035, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Jamshed Y. Uppal & Syeda Rabab Mudakkar, 2013. "Human Development and Economic Uncertainties: Exploring Another Dimension of Development," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 18(Special E), pages 305-334, September.
  5. Athanassoglou, Stergios, 2013. "Multidimensional welfare rankings," MPRA Paper 51642, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Partha Dasgupta, 2013. "The Nature of Economic Development and the Economic Development of Nature," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1349, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  7. Stephen Morse, 2013. "Bottom Rail on Top: The Shifting Sands of Sustainable Development Indicators as Tools to Assess Progress," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(6), pages 2421-2441, May.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5484. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.