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Human Development Index: A Non-Compensatory Assessment


  • Sebastián Lozano Segura


  • Ester Gutiérrez Moya



The Human Development Index is a summary measure of Human Development on three basic dimensions:longevity, knowledge and standard of living. An index is computed for each of these three dimensions and a simple average computed. In this paper we adopt a Non-Compensatory perspective that considers thatdeprivation in any one of these basic dimensions cannot be compensated by achievements in any other.Consistent with this view, we propose to use the minimum of the component indexes instead of the arithmetic average. We present the results of this re-assessment of the HDI for the last five years´ data. Although correlated with the HDI, this NCHDI gives a different ranking of the countries and, above all, provides new insights into imbalances within the HDI. The new index can also be used at the national and local levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastián Lozano Segura & Ester Gutiérrez Moya, 2009. "Human Development Index: A Non-Compensatory Assessment," REVISTA CUADERNOS DE ECONOMÍA, UN - RCE - CID, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000093:005899

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tomson Ogwang & Abdella Abdou, 2003. "The Choice of Principal Variables for Computing some Measures of Human Well-being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 139-152, October.
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    4. Luchters, Guido & Menkhoff, Lukas, 1996. "Human development as statistical artifact," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1385-1392, August.
    5. Krishna Mazumdar, 2003. "A New Approach to Human Development Index," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(4), pages 535-549.
    6. Despotis, D.K., 2005. "Measuring human development via data envelopment analysis: the case of Asia and the Pacific," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 385-390, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Srinivasan, T N, 1994. "Human Development: A New Paradigm or Reinvention of the Wheel?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 238-243, May.
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    10. Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Koen Decancq, 2017. "Measuring Multidimensional Inequality in the OECD Member Countries with a Distribution-Sensitive Better Life Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 1057-1086, April.

    More about this item


    Human Development Index; Non-Compensatory; unbalanced development.;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis


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