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Composite Indices of Human Well-being: Past, Present, and Future

  • McGillivray, Mark
  • Noorbakhsh, Farhad

This paper surveys the various composite well-being indices that have been inter-country assessments over the last 40 or soy ears, including the well known Human Development Index (HDI). A number of issues are considered, including the choice of components, component weights, scale equivalence, non-linearity, correlations among components and the policy relevance of such measures. [ResearchPaperNo.2004/63]

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Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number UNU-WIDER Research Paper RP2004/63.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2004-63
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  1. Osberg, Lars & Sharpe, Andrew, 2002. "An Index of Economic Well-Being for Selected OECD Countries," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 291-316, September.
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  3. Ram, Rati, 1982. "Composite indices of physical quality of life, basic needs fulfilment, and income : A principal component representation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 227-247, October.
  4. Srinivasan, T N, 1994. "Human Development: A New Paradigm or Reinvention of the Wheel?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 238-43, May.
  5. F. Noorbakhsh, 2002. "Human development and regional disparities in Iran: a policy model," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(7), pages 927-949.
  6. Beckerman, Wilfred & Bacon, Robert, 1970. "International Comparisons of Income Levels: an Additional Measure: Reply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 80(318), pages 418-20, June.
  7. Hicks, Norman & Streeten, Paul, 1979. "Indicators of development: The search for a basic needs yardstick," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 567-580, June.
  8. Miles Cahill, 2002. "Diminishing returns to GDP and the Human Development Index," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(13), pages 885-887.
  9. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Good and bad growth: The human development reports," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 631-638, May.
  10. ED Diener, 1995. "A value based index for measuring national quality of life," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 107-127, October.
  11. Osman Zaim & Rolf Färe & Shawna Grosskopf, 2001. "An Economic Approach to Achievement and Improvement Indexes," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 91-118, October.
  12. Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
  13. Farhad Noorbakhsh, 1998. "The human development index: some technical issues and alternative indices," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(5), pages 589-605.
  14. Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Dimensions of Human Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 181-205, February.
  15. Hess, Peter N, 1989. "The Military Burden, Economic Growth, and the Human Suffering Index: Evidence from the LDCs," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 497-515, December.
  16. Neumayer, Eric, 2001. "The human development index and sustainability -- a constructive proposal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 101-114, October.
  17. Dejian Lai, 2000. "Temporal Analysis of Human Development Indicators: Principal Component Approach," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 331-366, September.
  18. Slottje, Daniel J, 1991. "Measuring the Quality of Life across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 684-93, November.
  19. Maasoumi, Esfandiar & Nickelsburg, Gerald, 1988. "Multivariate Measures of Well-Being and an Analysis of Inequality in the Michigan Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(3), pages 326-34, July.
  20. Larson, David A. & Wilford, Walton T., 1979. "The physical quality of life index: A useful social indicator?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 581-584, June.
  21. Mark McGillivray & Howard White, 1993. "Measuring development? The UNDP's human development index," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(2), pages 183-192, 03.
  22. Luchters, Guido & Menkhoff, Lukas, 1996. "Human development as statistical artifact," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1385-1392, August.
  23. Paul Streeten, 2000. "Looking Ahead: Areas of future research in human development," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 25-48.
  24. Morse, Stephen, 2003. "For better or for worse, till the human development index do us part?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 281-296, June.
  25. Guido Luchters & Lukas Menkhoff, 2000. "Chaotic signals from HDI measurement," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 267-270.
  26. M. Majumdar & S. Subramanian, 2001. "Capability Failure and Group Disparities : Some Evidence from India for the 1980s," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(5), pages 104-140.
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