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Efficiency in human development: A Data Envelopment Analysis


  • Valérie Vierstraete

    () (GREDI, Department of Economics, Université de Sherbrooke)


The human development index (HDI) is a measure of development published annually by the UNDP. This index allows countries’ development to be assessed on the basis of three indicators that measure the health, education, and standard of living of the population. The UNDP also computes a human development that excludes this last indicator, the HDI*. The global average of the HDI is approximately 0.75, but like the HDI*, it presents some striking inter-country disparities. In this study, we wish to demonstrate that efficiency in the utilization of public resources can have an incidence on HDI* scores. Thus, owing to a certain “waste” in their use of resources, countries with similar levels of government spending may end up with differing levels of human development. We measure this efficiency using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) method. Relative efficiency in resource use is thus computed by comparing the countries in the study amongst themselves.

Suggested Citation

  • Valérie Vierstraete, 2010. "Efficiency in human development: A Data Envelopment Analysis," Cahiers de recherche 10-25, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
  • Handle: RePEc:shr:wpaper:10-25

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    Cited by:

    1. Djedje Hermann Yohou, 2015. "In Search of Fiscal Space in Africa: The Role of the Quality of Government Spending," Working Papers halshs-01222812, HAL.

    More about this item


    Data Envelopment Analysis; DEA; efficiency; development; human development index; HDI;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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