Recasting Human Development Measures

By Sudhir Anand

The UNDP introduced three new human development measures in its 2010 Human Development Report, which it has since continued to estimate and report on annually. These measures are the geometrically-averaged Human Development Index (HDI), the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), and the Gender Inequality Index (GII). This paper critically reviews these measures in terms of their purpose, concept, construction, properties, and data requirements. It shows that all three measures suffer from serious defects, and concludes that two of them are not fit for purpose. The paper suggests how HDI and GII might be recast to overcome the problems identified and better reflect the purposes for which they were devised.

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