A Household-Based Human Development Index

77 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2013

See all articles by Kenneth Harttgen

Kenneth Harttgen

University of Zurich

Stephan Klasen

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 7, 2010

Abstract

One of the most serious weaknesses of the Human Development Index (HDI) is that it considers only average achievements and does not take into account the distribution of human development within a country or by population subgroups. All previous attempts to capture inequality in the HDI have also used aggregate information and there exists no HDI at the household level. This paper provides a method and illustration for calculating the HDI at the household level. This immediately allows the analysis of the HDI by any kind of population subgroups and by household socioeconomic characteristics. Furthermore, it allows to apply any kind of inequality measure to the HDI across population subgroups and over time. We illustrate our approach for 15 developing countries. Inequality in the HDI is largest in poorer countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. We also find large inequalities within countries between population subgroups, particularly by income, location, and education of the household head. We also find considerable inequality when looking at inequality measures like the Theil or the Gini coefficient; within-group inequality is, however, invariably larger than between-group inequality and inequality in the HDI within countries is of similar order of magnitude of inequality in the HDI between countries.

Suggested Citation

Harttgen, Kenneth and Klasen, Stephan, A Household-Based Human Development Index (September 7, 2010). UNDP-HDRO Occasional Papers No. 2010/22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2351552

Kenneth Harttgen (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Stephan Klasen

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany
+49-551-397303 (Phone)
+49-551-397302 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/klasen.html

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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