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A Household-Based Distribution-Sensitive Human Development Index: An Empirical Application to Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru

Luis Lopez-Calva () and Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez ()

Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2012, vol. 109, issue 3, 395-411

Abstract: In measuring human development, one of the main concerns relates to the inclusion of a measure that penalizes inequalities in the distribution of achievements across the population. Using indicators from nationally representative household surveys and census data, this paper proposes a straightforward methodology to estimate a household-based distribution-sensitive human development index aggregated through generalized means. The evidence shows that the losses in human development due to inequality reach up 22, 29 and 57% in Mexico, Peru and Nicaragua, respectively. Among dimensions, the loss in the income index reaches up 61% in Nicaragua, while the education index appears as the most sensitive in the case of Mexico and Peru, with a percentage of loss between 38 and 48%. The importance of household-level calculations is highlighted when we compare the indices computed from the entire distribution with those existing indices computed for quintiles of the distribution, which minimizes the losses due to inequality. Overall, the estimations evidence a higher sensitivity of the index to inequality, and therefore an important space for public action to reduce inequality that could involve positive development returns. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Keywords: Human development index; Distribution-sensitive inequality; Generalized means; Cross-sectional data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1007/s11205-011-9908-4

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