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Inequality, Interactions, and Human Development


  • Suman Seth


The Human Development Index, which is multidimensional by construction, is criticized on the ground that it is insensitive to any form of inequality across persons. Inequality in the multidimensional context can take two distinct forms. The first pertains to the spread of the distribution across persons, analogous to unidimensional inequality. The second, in contrast, deals with interactions among dimensions. The second form of inequality is important as dimensional interactions may alter individual level evaluations as well as overall inequality. Recently proposed indices have incorporated only the first form of inequality, but not the second. It is an important omission. This paper proposes a two-parameter class of Human Development Indices that reflects sensitivity to both forms of inequality. It is revealed how consideration of interactions among dimensions affects policy recommendations. Finally, the indices are applied to the year 2000 Mexican census data to contrast the present approach with the existing approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Suman Seth, 2009. "Inequality, Interactions, and Human Development," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 375-396.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:10:y:2009:i:3:p:375-396 DOI: 10.1080/19452820903048878

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hikaru Hasegawa & Kazuhiro Ueda, 2016. "Multidimensional inequality for current status of Japanese private companies’ employees," METRON, Springer;Sapienza Università di Roma, vol. 74(3), pages 357-373, December.
    2. Gerhard Kockläuner, 2013. "Die neuen Indizes des Bericht über die menschliche Entwicklung 2010," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer;Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft - German Statistical Society, vol. 7(3), pages 121-133, December.
    3. Sabina Alkire & James Foster, 2010. "Designing the Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI)," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-28, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    4. Amie Gaye & Jeni Klugman & Milorad Kovacevic & Sarah Twigg & Eduardo Zambrano, 2013. "Measuring gender disparities in human development," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 24, pages 393-409 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Eduardo Zambrano, 2014. "An axiomatization of the human development index," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(4), pages 853-872, April.
    6. Ángeles Sánchez-Domínguez & Maria J. Ruiz Martos, 2013. "Europe 2020 strategy: a strategy for which type of growth?," ThE Papers 13/11, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    7. Hill, Ronald Paul & Capella, Michael L., 2014. "Impoverished consumers, Catholic social teaching, and distributive justice," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 32-41.
    8. Olgica Bošković & Nikola Njegovan, 2012. "Gender Inequality In The Labour Market In Serbia," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 57(192), pages 113-136, January –.
    9. Luis Lopez-Calva & Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez, 2012. "A Household-Based Distribution-Sensitive Human Development Index: An Empirical Application to Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 395-411, December.
    10. Suman Seth, 2013. "A class of distribution and association sensitive multidimensional welfare indices," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(2), pages 133-162, June.
    11. Suman Seth & Antonio Villar, 2014. "The Measurement of Human Development and Poverty," Working Papers 14.10, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    12. Enrico Casadio Tarabusi & Giulio Guarini, 2016. "Level Dependence of the Adjustment for Unbalance and Inequality for the Human Development Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(2), pages 527-553, March.
    13. Gaëlle Ferrant, 2014. "The Multidimensional Gender Inequalities Index (MGII): A Descriptive Analysis of Gender Inequalities Using MCA," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(2), pages 653-690, January.
    14. Leßmann, Ortrud, 2011. "Empirische Studien zum Capability Ansatz auf der Grundlage von Befragungen: Ein Überblick," UFZ Discussion Papers 4/2011, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    15. Permanyer, Iñaki, 2013. "Using Census Data to Explore the Spatial Distribution of Human Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-13.
    16. Ángeles Sánchez-Domínguez & Maria J. Ruiz Martos, 2016. "Europe 2020 Strategy Under the Scope of Life Satisfaction," ThE Papers 16/01, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    17. Edsel Beja, 2014. "Yet, Two More Revisions to the Human Development Index," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 27-39, April.
    18. Coral del Rio & Olga Alonso-Villar, 2015. "Segregation and social welfare," Working Papers 378, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    19. Antonio Villar, 2012. "The Educational Development Index: A Multidimensional Approach to Educational Achievements through PISA," Working Papers 12.06, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    20. Yadira Diaz, 2015. "Differences in needs and multidimensional deprivation measurement," Working Papers 387, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.


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