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Inequality of Human Opportunities in Developing Asia

Author

Listed:
  • Hyun H. Son

    (Principal Evaluation Specialist at the Independent Evaluation Department of the ADB)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the equity of opportunity in basic education and infrastructure services in seven developing countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam. The analysis applies a method developed by the World Bank called the Human Opportunity Index, which measures the total contribution of individual socioeconomic and demographic circumstances to inequality of opportunity in accessing basic services. The new and major contribution of the paper, however, is the development of a methodology that quantifies the relative contribution of each circumstance variable to the inequality of opportunity. This contribution is crucial in identifying which underlying inequalities matter most—which can have important policy implications, for instance, in terms of developing better-targeted interventions. Results of the empirical analysis indicate that more needs to be done to improve the distribution of economic benefits. Opportunities to access basic education and infrastructure services in the seven countries vary widely in terms of availability and distribution. The study also finds that inequality of opportunity is driven mainly by per capita household expenditure. This suggests that household poverty plays a crucial role in determining equitable access to basic services. © 2013 Asian Development Bank and Asian Development Bank Institute.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyun H. Son, 2013. "Inequality of Human Opportunities in Developing Asia," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 30(2), pages 110-130, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:adbadr:v:30:y:2013:i:2:p:110-130
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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ADEV_a_00017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zhang, Xiaobo & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Spatial inequality in education and health care in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 189-204.
    2. Mirza, Bilal & Kemp, Rene, 2009. "Why Rural Rich Remain Energy Poor," MERIT Working Papers 024, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Lodhi, Abdul Salam & Tsegai, Daniel W. & Gerber, Nicolas, 2011. "Determinants of participation in child’s education and alternative activities in Pakistan," Discussion Papers 119110, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    4. Monazza Aslam & Geeta Gandhi Kingdon, 2008. "Gender and household education expenditure in Pakistan," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(20), pages 2573-2591.
    5. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Reyes, Celia M. & Mina, Christian D. & Asis, Ronina D., 2017. "Inequality of Opportunities Among Ethnic Groups in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2017-42, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    2. Zhuang, Juzhong & Kanbur, Ravi & Rhee, Changyong, 2014. "Rising Inequality in Asia and Policy Implications," Working Papers 180123, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    3. Hatem Jemmali, 2016. "Inequality of Opportunities among Tunisian Children over Time and Space," Working Papers 1048, Economic Research Forum, revised 09 Jan 2016.
    4. Mohamed Amara & Hatem Jemmali, 2017. "On the Decomposition and Dynamics of Inequality of Opportunities: A Special Focus on Early Childhood Health and Nutrition in Tunisia," Working Papers 1093, Economic Research Forum, revised 05 Nov 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; education; health; basic infrastructure; human opportunity; poverty; access to water and sanitation; access to electricity; urbanization; agglomeration; developing Asia;

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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