Functionings, Capabilities and the 2010 Human Development Index
46 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 7, 2011
In 2010 the UNDP unveiled a new methodology for the calculation of the Human Development Index (HDI). In this paper I investigate the merits of this change by evaluating the tradeoffs between the core dimensions of wellbeing implied by the index and try to understand the extent to which those tradeoffs are problematic in light of the normative principles that the 2010 HDI is designed to satisfy. I also compare the rankings that ensue to those produced by alternatives brought forth by Ravallion (2010) building on work by Chakravarty (2003). In practice, all methodologies agree considerably in terms of how they rank countries, but when they differ, the 2010 HDI arguably produces results more consistent with what the HDI is intended to measure: human development and capabilities, as conceptualized by Sen (1985).
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