Human development and inequality in the 20th Century: the Mercosur countries in a comparative perspective
María Camou and
IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola
This article is in line with the United Nations attempts to approach human development in wider terms than per capita GDP, and in line with an ever lively debate on the historical standard of living and on the role of inequality in development. We focus on three Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay) and we view them in comparison with four core countries (France, Germany, USA and UK) along the 20th Century. The paper makes different attempts to construct diverse indices and to change the weights of their different components in order to better explain human development in different periods. A contribution of the paper, so long limited to Uruguay and the USA, is to adjust the historical human development index by inequality measures for all of its components. The results show that Argentine started to diverge, even in human development, at early stages of the 20th Century; that Uruguay diverged from the mid-century and that Brazil continued to tighten the gap up to 1980, diverging afterwards without being able to come close to the levels of the core countries. Total inequality in Uruguay and USA showed similar levels and trends: it decreased until the 1950s, and increased afterwards to similar levels. While inequality affects human development within both countries, it doesn?t help to understand the differences between them, due to the mentioned similarity of the Gini-coefficients.
Keywords: Human; development; Education; Life; expectancy; Inequality; Catching-up; Domestic; capabilities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N36 N56 N76 N96 O15 Q17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap, nep-his, nep-lam and nep-ltv
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp08-06
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