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Intercountry inequality in human development: a 30-year perspective


  • Rati Ram


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to extend the existing literature on cross-country disparities by providing measures of cross-country inequality in human development index (HDI) and real income per capita over the 30-year period 1975-2004. Design/methodology/approach - A well-recommended inequality index is applied to the data. Findings - Ten points are noted: first, HDI inequality declined over the period; second, the pace of decline slowed somewhat since 1990; third, magnitude of HDI inequality has been quite small; fourth, inequality in gross domestic product per capita also shows a declining pattern over the period; fifth, there is very high correlation between HDI and per capita income; sixth, despite the high correlation, magnitudes of inequalities in the two variables are dramatically different; seventh, therefore, even very high correlation may not be interpreted as implying similar inequalities in the variables; eighth, cross-country inequalities in various regions show huge differences; ninth, negative trend in inequalities over the period shows high statistical significance; and tenth, Originality/value - The primary scientific significance of the work lies in providing the measures of cross-country inequality in HDI over the 30-year period; showing dramatically different inequalities in HDI and income despite very high correlation between the two variables; and indicating cross-country inequalities in eight different regional groups and also across regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Rati Ram, 2009. "Intercountry inequality in human development: a 30-year perspective," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(5), pages 481-489, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jespps:v:36:y:2009:i:5:p:481-489

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sevinc Rende & Murat Donduran, 2013. "Neighborhoods in Development: Human Development Index and Self-organizing Maps," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 721-734, January.


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