How to Include Political Capabilities in the HDI?
An Evaluation of Alternatives
This paper evaluates existing measures of political regimes and political freedom with respect to their desirability as indicators of political capabilities. It argues that the focus of desirable measures should be on the political and civil institutions that affect individuals’ opportunities to pursue their goals (their capabilities). Attempts to capture “actual” capabilities are misleading since they replicate what the existing HDI already does and muddle a measure that derives power from its simplicity. The paper then suggests indicators that are intuitive, clear and sufficiently encompassing to capture the political and civil environment within which individuals must pursue their goals.