A ‘manush’ or ‘humans’ characterisation of the human development index

Mishra, Srijit (1); Nathan, Hippu Salk Kristle (2) (2018). 'A ‘MANUSH’ or ‘HUMANS’ characterisation of the Human Development Index' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


Proposing a set of axioms MANUSH (Monotonicity, Anonymity, Normalisation, Uniformity, Shortfall sensitivity, Hiatus sensitivity to level) this paper evaluates three aggregation methods of computing Human Development Index (HDI). The old measure of HDI, which is a linear average of the three dimensions, satisfies monotonicity, anonymity, and normalisation (or MAN) axioms. The current geometric mean approach additionally satisfies the axiom of uniformity, which penalises unbalanced development across dimensions. We propose ℋ𝛼 measure, which for 𝛼≥2 also satisfies axioms of shortfall sensitivity (emphases on the worse-off to better-off dimensions should be at least in proportion to their shortfalls) and hiatus sensitivity to level (higher overall attainment must simultaneously lead to a reduction in gap across dimensions). Special cases of ℋ𝛼 are the linear average (α=1), the displaced ideal (𝛼=2), and the leximin ordering (𝛼→∞) methods. For its axiomatic advantages, we propose to make use of the displaced ideal (𝛼=2) method in the computation of HDI replacing the current geometric mean.

(This paper has been published this year in the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19452829.2017.1422703. We are sending this paper to HDCA Annual Conference to to disseminate the new measure conceived in this paper and we hope to receieve comments which will be useful while we attempt an empirical paper based on the idea developed in this published paper)

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