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A household-based Human Development Index

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  • Harttgen, Kenneth
  • Klasen, Stephan

Abstract

One of the most serious weaknesses of the human development index (HDI) is that it considers only average achievements and does not take into account the distribution of human development within a country or by population subgroups. All previous attempts to capture inequality in the HDI have also used aggregate information and there exists no HDI at the household level. This paper provides a method and illustration for calculating the HDI at the household level. This immediately allows the analysis of the HDI by any kind of population subgroups and by household socioeconomic characteristics. Furthermore, it allows to apply any kind of inequality measure to the HDI across population subgroups and over time. We illustrate our approach for 15 developing countries. Inequality in the HDI is largest in poorer countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. We also find large inequalities within countries between population subgroups, particularly by income, location, and education of the household head. We also find considerable inequality when looking at inequality measures like the Theil or the Gini coefficient; within-group inequality is, however, invariably larger than between-group inequality and inequality in the HDI within countries is of similar order of magnitude of inequality in the HDI between countries. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 with number 30.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec10:30

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Keywords: Human Development Index; Income Inequality; Differential Mortality; Inequality in Education;

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Cited by:
  1. Kenneth Harttgen & Stephan Klasen & Sebastian Vollmer, 2012. "An African Growth Miracle? Or: What do Asset Indices Tell Us about Trends in Economic Performance?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 109, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  2. Gisselquist, Rachel M., 2013. "Evaluating governance indexes: Critical and less critical questions," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Lukas Schrott & Martin Gächter & Engelbert Theurl, 2012. "Regional development in advanced countries: A within-country application of the Human Development Index for Austria," Working Papers, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck 2012-23, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  4. Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Maty Konte, 2013. "Why Are Women Less Democratic Than Men? Evidence from Sub-Saharan African Countries," Working Papers halshs-00802838, HAL.
  5. David Mayer-Foulkes, 2011. "A Causal Panorama of Cross-Country Human Development," DEGIT Conference Papers, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade c016_049, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  6. Eduardo Zambrano, 2014. "An axiomatization of the human development index," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 853-872, April.
  7. Hill, Ronald Paul & Capella, Michael L., 2014. "Impoverished consumers, Catholic social teaching, and distributive justice," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 32-41.

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