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The Human Development Index in Historical Perspective: Italy from Political Unification to the Present Day

  • Leandro Conte

    ()

  • Giuseppe Della Torre

    ()

  • Michelangelo Vasta

    ()

The aim of this research is to provide a long run estimate of the Human Development Index (HDI) for Italy. To this purpose we have reconstructed Italian historical series relative to life expectancy, literacy rate, school enrolment rates and income. All the series presented are the result of a study which has produced, starting from primary sources, original series disaggregated to the regional level. The possibility of having, for Italy, a basis of comparison with the main developed countries has permitted us to show that, even though there has been significant progress in the values of the single variables, the country has not appreciably improved its position in the world ranking. This seems to be due, in large part, to the trend of the education variables that displays values decidedly distant from those of the main industrialized countries. As far as regional trends are concerned, we can observe a slow process of alignment of the values of the Southern regions to the values of the other Italian regions for levels of education and longevity, while income levels for the 1990s still remain quite distant.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 491.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:491
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  1. Stanley L. Engerman, 1997. "The Standard of Living Debate in International Perspective: Measures and Indicators," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 17-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maurizio Bovi & Laura Castellucci, 2001. "Cosa sappiamo dell'economia sommersa in Italia al di là dei luoghi comuni? Alcune proposizioni empiricamente fondate," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2001(6).
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  8. 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.
  9. William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1973. "Is Growth Obsolete?," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Economic and Social Performance, pages 509-564 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • William D. Nordhaus & James Tobin, 1972. "Is Growth Obsolete?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Research: Retrospect and Prospect Vol 5: Economic Growth, pages 1-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Streeten, Paul, 1994. "Human Development: Means and Ends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 232-37, May.
  11. Sagar, Ambuj D. & Najam, Adil, 1998. "The human development index: a critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 249-264, June.
  12. Bos, Frits, 1993. "Standard national accounting concepts, economic theory and data compilation issues; on constancy and change in the UN-Manuals on national accounting (1947, 1953, 1968, 1993)," MPRA Paper 2656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Crafts, N. F. R., 1997. "The Human Development Index and changes in standards of living: Some historical comparisons," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(03), pages 299-322, December.
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