Indices in HDI Measurements


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

Five indices are used by the Human Development Reports to measure progress on human development. The first Human Development Report in 1990 introduced a new way of measuring development by combining indicators of life expectancy, educational attainment and income into a composite human development index, the HDI. The components are measured by four variables: GDP per capita, (PPP USD), literary rates (%), combined gross enrollment ratio, (%) and life expectancy at birth (years). The composite index results in a figure between 0 and 1, of which 1 indicates high level of human development and 0 being no level of human development. Countries are consequently given a specific rank dependent on their success in achieving HD, presented yearly in the Global HDRs.
 In 1995, the Gender-related Development Index (GDI) and Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) were added to the reports, as a response to the criticism that HDI did not capture gender inequalities. The GDI measures the same variables as the HDI, but calculates the components separately for women. The methodology used imposes a penalty for inequality, such that the GDI falls when the achievement levels of both women and men in a country diverge or when the disparity between their achievements increases. The greater the gender disparity, the lower a country’s GDI. The GDI is simply the HDI discounted, or adjusted downwards, for gender inequality. The GEM measures women’s empowerment in public life through assessing the share of seats in parliament held by women, of female legislators, senior officials and managers, of female professional and technical workers, and gender disparities in earned income, reflecting economic independence. While GDI focuses on expansion of capabilities, GEM is concerned with the use of those capabilities to take advantage of the opportunities in life.
While the GDI and GEM added new dimensions to the report, they were criticised for being too narrow and limited in order to grasp the issue of deprivation. To highlight the levels of deprivation, the Human Poverty Index (HPI) was developed in 1997. HPI focuses on the same dimensions as HDI as it concentrates on the deprivation in standard of living, knowledge and longevity. Human poverty goes beyond income poverty. It includes deprivation in education and life span as determinants of poverty. If human development is about enlarging choices, poverty here means that opportunities and choices most basic to HD are denied.


Tuesday, 11th Aug 2015, 04:46:18 PM

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