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Social Progress Around the World: Measurement, Evolution and Convergence

Jesús Peiró-Palomino, Andres Picazo-Tadeo () and Vicente Rios ()
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Jesús Peiró-Palomino: University of Valencia and INTECO

No 2006, Working Papers from Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia

Abstract: This paper develops a new composite index to measure social progress in 139 countries over the period 1995-2017; notably, it allows for comparisons across countries and over time. The index considers 45 raw variables covering three fundamental pillars of social progress; namely, basic human needs, foundations of well-being, and opportunities. The results point to a marked improvement in social progress all over the world from the mid-1990s, although they also paint a picture of a highly polarized world. Cross-country convergence patterns are also investigated, revealing a reduction in the differences in social progress, largely driven by the narrowing of the gap in basic human needs. Conversely, sizeable cross-country disparities remain in foundations of well-being and oppor- tunities. The analysis also accounts for people, and shows that social progress has improved for a large share of the world’s population due to the remarkable advances of some highly populated countries.

Keywords: Convergence; Composite index; Social progress; World (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C43 F63 O11 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-09
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