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Progress in human development: Are we on the right path?

  • Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan


    (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

  • Srijit Mishra


    (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)

The conventional measure of Human Development Index (HDI) is a linear average across dimensions, HDI1. Under this, poor attainments in any dimension gets perfectly compensated for better attainments in any other dimension HDI2, which is based on Euclidean distance measuring shortfall from the ideal, addresses the above anomaly. In our analysis of progress, we use HDI2 to develop the notion of an ideal path and penalty to capture deviation from this; and a measure of fluctuation. The measures are applied to 127 countries for the period 1990-2004. The results show that Sub-Saharan countries have suffered on account of sharp decline in health suggesting prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic. In case of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the income dimension got jolted in the nineties indicating their economic collapse after Soviet disintegration. We also find some of the emerging economies progressing well along the ideal path. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of Human Development Report, this paper is timely and would engage academia and public policy to have a critical look favouring a balanced development across the three dimensions of HDI - health, education and standard of living.

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Paper provided by Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India in its series Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers with number 2010-010.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ind:igiwpp:2010-010
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  1. Nauro F. Campos & Abrizio Coricelli, 2002. "Growth in Transition: What We Know, What We Don't, and What We Should," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-836, September.
  2. Srijit Mishra & Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan, 2008. "On A Class of Human Development Index Measures," Development Economics Working Papers 22340, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  3. Srijit Mishra & Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan & B. Sudhakara Reddy, 2009. "An Alternative Approach to Measure HDI," Working Papers id:2069, eSocialSciences.
  4. Dowling, Malcolm & Wignaraja, Ganeshan, 2006. "Central Asia after Fifteen Years of Transition: Growth, Regional Cooperation, and Policy Choices," Working Papers on Regional Economic Integration 3, Asian Development Bank.
  5. World Bank, 2002. "Transition, The First Ten Years : Analysis and Lessons for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14042, September.
  6. Augustin Kwasi Fosu and Germano Mwabu, 2010. "Human Development in Africa," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2010-08, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  7. Samuel H. Preston & Jessica Y. Ho, 2009. "Low Life Expectancy in the United States: Is the Health Care System at Fault?," NBER Working Papers 15213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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