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Maximizing human development

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  • Merwan Engineer
  • Ian King

Abstract

The Human Development Index (HDI) is widely used as a measure of wellbeing. We examine the allocations implied by the maximization of this index using a standard growth model. Maximization leads to consumption (excluding education and health expenditures) being pushed to minimal levels. It also leads to the overaccumulation of education and/or health capital and possibly physical capital, relative to the standard golden rule. We propose an alternative specification for the HDI, where consumption replaces income as a proxy for decent standard of living. Maximization of this alternative implies a human development golden rule which balances consumption, education and health expenditure. We advocate the method of optimization subject to constraints for revealing the policy implications of taking an achievement measure and its underlying philosophy seriously.

Suggested Citation

  • Merwan Engineer & Ian King, 2013. "Maximizing human development," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 46(2), pages 497-525, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:46:y:2013:i:2:p:497-525
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12021
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    1. Maximizing the Human Development Index
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-12-10 21:36:00

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    1. Mehmet Pinar & Thanasis Stengos & Nikolas Topaloglou, 2013. "Measuring human development: a stochastic dominance approach," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 69-108, March.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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