Maximizing Human Development
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.
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