Human Development Report Office
16 October 2013
|The staff and friends of the UNDP Human Development Report Office are saddened to note the passing this week of Gustav Ranis, a seminal contributor to the Human Development Reports and to the philosophy of human development the guides the Reports. Gustav Ranis worked on the first Human Development Report in 1990 and served as a valued advisor to the Human Development Report Office ever since. He was the longtime Director of the Yale University Center for International and Area Studies. Francis Stewart, a fellow member of the advisory panel of the Human Development Report Office, who co-authored many groundbreaking papers on human development with Gustav Ranis, offered this appreciation:|
Gustav Ranis was an outstanding thinker, contributing to the foundations of development economics and playing a major role in the conceptualisation and evolution of the Human Development approach. The Ranis-Fei model of development in economies with surplus labour, published in 1964, rapidly became a classic, shaping the development agenda of the time. Subsequently, in another important work, John Fei and Gustav Ranis developed a method of decomposing inequality measures permitting analysis of sources of inequality.
In later years, his main contributions were related to Human Development. He was a longtime friend of Mahbub ul Haq, whom he met when he was director of the Pakistan Institute of Development Studies in the early 1960s. Ranis was a preeminent participant in the Human Development discussions that began in a series of North-South Roundtables organized by Mahbub and Kadijha Haq in the 1980s, and which culminated in the first Human Development Report in 1990. Ranis wrote a substantial proportion of the first Report, as well as contributing to the general conceptualization and framing of Human Development.
He continued to influence the Human Development Reports, both as an advisor and through his many papers on Human Development. His significant contributions included analysis of the relationship between Human Development and economic growth with evidence showing that sustained growth required giving priority to human development; an exploration into the causes of success and failure in Human Development at a country level; and an empirical investigation showing that the HDI alone does not capture the broader dimensions of Human Development.This brief summary represents just a fraction of Ranis’s many and wide-ranging contributions, which also included original analyses of migration, of employment and of decentralization. His work combined theory and empirical analysis in an innovative way, and always with a feel for real life conditions. He was a pioneer of development economics and of Human Development. He will be greatly missed.
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