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Maximizing Human Development

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  • Merwan Engineer
  • Ian King

Abstract

The Human Development Index (HDI) is widely used as an aggregate measure of overall human well being. We examine the allocations implied by the maximization of this index, using a standard growth model — an extended version of Mankiw, Romer, andWeil’s (1992) model — and compare these with the allocations implied by the golden rule in that model. We find that maximization of the HDI leads to the overaccumulation of both physical and human capital, relative to the golden rule, and consumption is pushed to minimal levels. We then propose an alternative specification of the HDI, which replaces its income component with a consumption component. Maximization of this modified HDI yields a “human development golden rule” which balances consumption, education and health expenditures, and avoids the more extreme implications of the existing HDI.

Suggested Citation

  • Merwan Engineer & Ian King, 2010. "Maximizing Human Development," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1111, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1111
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    File URL: http://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/801018/1111.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    2. Charles I. Jones & Peter J. Klenow, 2016. "Beyond GDP? Welfare across Countries and Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2426-2457, September.
    3. Krishna Mazumdar, 2003. "A New Approach to Human Development Index," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(4), pages 535-549.
    4. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-364, June.
    5. de la Croix,David & Michel,Philippe, 2002. "A Theory of Economic Growth," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521001151, March.
    6. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    7. Merwan Engineer & Ian King & Nilanjana Roy, 2008. "The human development index as a criterion for optimal planning," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 1(2), pages 172-192, September.
    8. King, Ian & Ferguson, Don, 1993. "Dynamic inefficiency, endogenous growth, and Ponzi games," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 79-104, August.
    9. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2005. "How Should We Measure The "Economic" Aspects Of Well-Being?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(2), pages 311-336, June.
    10. Rivera, Berta & Currais, Luis, 1999. "Income Variation and Health Expenditure: Evidence for OECD Countries," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 258-267, October.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Maximizing the Human Development Index
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-12-10 21:36:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Mehmet Pinar & Thanasis Stengos & Nikolas Topaloglou, 2013. "Measuring human development: a stochastic dominance approach," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 69-108, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic growth; Human Development Index; Planning;

    JEL classification:

    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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