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The HDI 2010: New Controversies, Old Critiques

  • Jeni Klugman

    ()

    (Human Development Report Office, UNDP)

  • Francisco Rodríguez

    ()

    (Human Development Report Office, UNDP)

  • Hyung-Jin Choi

    ()

    (Human Development Report Office, UNDP)

Since its introduction in the first Human Development Report in 1990, the Human Development Index (HDI) has attracted great interest in policy and academic circles, as well as in the media and national audiences around the world. Its popularity can be attributed to the simplicity of its characterization of development - an average of achievements in health, education and income – and to its underlying message that development is much more than economic growth. Yet the HDI’s very simplicity prompted critiques from the start, with some contending that it was too simplistic, while others who accepted its self-imposed limitations still questioned its choice of indicators and its computational methodology. In 2010, for the twentieth anniversary edition, the Human Development Report undertook a comprehensive review of these critiques and introduced several major changes to the HDI. This article is a detailed review of key critiques of the HDI, today and in the past, and explains the recent changes introduced to the HDI formula and indicators.

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Paper provided by Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its series Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) with number HDRP-2011-01.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as background research for the 2011 Human Development Report.
Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2011-01
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