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The Human Development Index and changes in standards of living: Some historical comparisons

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  • Crafts, N. F. R.

Abstract

The article compiles measures of the Human Development Index and also growth rates of real GDP/person adjusted for changes in mortality and leisure for 16 advanced economies since 1870. It is argued that relatively low life expectancy implies that the high income countries of 1870 had lower living standards than most of today's Third World but that since 1870 imputations for reductions in market work time have added more to growth than decreases in mortality. Overall, it seems clear that conventional measures of economic growth seriously understate the rate of improvement in living standards since 1870.

Suggested Citation

  • Crafts, N. F. R., 1997. "The Human Development Index and changes in standards of living: Some historical comparisons," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(3), pages 299-322, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:1:y:1997:i:03:p:299-322_00
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