Improving the Measurement of Human Development

Herrero, Carmen , and Ricardo Martínez, and Antonio Villar (2010). "Improving the Measurement of Human Development" United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Reports Research Paper 2010/12 United Nations Development Programme 1-43

We propose a new Human Development Index that involves a number of changes with respect to the present one, even though it keeps the basic structure of the index (namely, preserving “health”, “education” and “material wellbeing” as the three basic dimensions of human development). The first change refers to the substitution of the arithmetic mean by the geometric mean, as a way of aggregating the different dimensions in a more sensible way. The second one leads to the introduction of distributive considerations in the evaluation of material wellbeing. The last change consists of the introduction of new variables to approach health and education, looking for a higher sensitivity of the index with respect to the differences between countries. These new variables are specially indicated for the analysis of human development in highly developed countries. Besides the conceptual discussion, that includes a characterization of the chosen aggregation formula, we present a comparative analysis of this new index and the standard one, focusing on the OECD countries.
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