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Inequality in Human Development: An empirical assessment of thirty-two countries




One of the most frequent critiques of the HDI is that it does not take into account inequality within countries in its three dimensions. We use a simple approach, which allows to compute the three components and the overall HDI for quintiles of the income distribution. This allows to compare the level in human development of the poor with the level of the non-poor within countries, but also across countries. This is an application of the method presented in Grimm et al. (2008) to a sample of 21 low and middle income countries and 11 industrialized countries. Our results show that inequality in human development within countries is high both in developed and industrialized countries. In fact, the HDI of the lowest quintiles in industrialized countries is often below the HDI of the richest quintile in many middle income countries. We also find, however, a strong overall negative correlation between the level of human development and inequality in human development.

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  • Michael Grimm & Stephan Klasen & Ken Harttgen & Mark Misselhorn & Teresa Munzi & Timothy Smeeding, 2008. "Inequality in Human Development: An empirical assessment of thirty-two countries," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 178, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:iaidps:178

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    1. Grimm, Michael & Harttgen, Kenneth & Klasen, Stephan & Misselhorn, Mark, 2008. "A Human Development Index by Income Groups," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2527-2546, December.
    2. Sen, Amartya, 1998. "Human development and financial conservatism," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 733-742, April.
    3. anonymous, 1998. "Western economic developments," Western economic developments, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue May.
    4. Oecd, 1998. "Internet Voice Telephony Developments," OECD Digital Economy Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
    5. anonymous, 1998. "Western economic developments," Western economic developments, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    6. Klasen, Stephan, 2008. "Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction: Measurement Issues using Income and Non-Income Indicators," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 420-445, March.
    7. Se H. Park & Walter C. Labys, 1998. "Industrial Development and Environmental Degradation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1549.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Klasen & Nathalie Scholl & Rahul Lahoti & Sophie Ochmann & Sebastian Vollmer, 2016. "Inequality – Worldwide Trends and Current Debates," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 209, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    2. Harttgen, Kenneth & Klasen, Stephan, 2012. "A Household-Based Human Development Index," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 878-899.
    3. Grimm, M., 2010. "Does inequality in health impede growth?," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19426, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.

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    Human Development; Income Inequality; Differential Mortality; Inequality in Education;

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