Inequality in Multidimensional Indicators of Well-Being: Methodology and Application to the Human Development Index

  • Quentin Wodon
  • Shlomo Yitzhaki
Part of the Economic Studies in Equality, Social Exclusion and Well-Being book series (EIAP, volume 5)


Inequality measures for multidimensional indicators of well-being may be sensitive to the weights used for weighting the various dimensions taken into account in the overall indicator. This paper provides a general yet simple method for assessing whether the Gini index of inequality is sensitive to changes in weights. The method is applied to the Human Development Index (HDI). Changing the weights used to compute the HDI would not change significantly world inequality in human development.


Weighting Scheme Human Development Index Gini Index United Nations Development Programme Inequality Measure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anand, S. and A. Sen (1999) The Income Component in the HDI - Alternative Formulations, Occasional Paper, United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report Office, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Doessel, D. P. and R. Gounder (1994) Theory and Measurement of Living Levels: Some Empirical Results for the Human Development Index, Journal of International Development, 6(4), 415-435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hicks, D. A. (1997) The Inequality-Adjusted Human Development Index: A Constructive Proposal, World Development, 25(8), 1283-1298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. L üchters, G. and L. Menkhoff (1996) Human Development as Statistical Artifact, World Development, 24(8), 1385-1392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. McGillivray, M. (1991) The Human Development Index: Yet Another Redundant Composite Development Indicator?, World Development, 19(10), 183-192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. McGillivray, M. and F. Noorbakhsh (2004) Composite Indices of Human Wellbeing: Past, Present and Future, Research Paper no. 2004/63, (November), United Nations University: WIDER.Google Scholar
  7. McGillivray, M. and H. White (1993) Measuring Development? The UNDP’s Hu-man Development Index, Journal of International Development, 5, 183-192.Google Scholar
  8. McGranahan, D. V., C. Richard-Proust, N. V. Sovani and M. Subramanian (1972) Contents and Measurement of Socioeconomic Development, staff Study of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  9. Noorbakhsh, F. (1998) The Human Development Index: Some Technical Issues and Alternative Indices, Journal of International Development, 10, 589-605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Noorbakhsh, F. (2007) International Convergence or Higher Inequality in Human Development? Evidence for 1975-2002, in G. Mavrotas and A. Shorrocks (eds.) Advancing Development, pp. 149-167, Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Ogwang, T. (1994) The Choice of Principle Variable for Computing the Human Development Index, Worlk Development, 22(12), 2011-2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Palazzi, P. and A. Lauri (1998) The Human Development Index: Suggested Corrections, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, 51(205), 193-221.Google Scholar
  13. Ram, R. (1992) International Inequalities in Human Development and Real Income, Economics Letters, 38, 351-354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schechtman, E. and S. Yitzhaki (1987) A Measure of Association Based on Gini’s Mean Difference, Communications in Statistics Theory and Methods, A16(1), 207-231.Google Scholar
  15. Schechtman, E. and S. Yitzhaki (1999) On the Proper Bounds of the Gini Correlation, Economics Letters, 63, 133-138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. United Nations Development Programme (2006) Human Development Report 2006 - Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  17. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) (1970) Contents and Measuremetns of Socioeconomic Development, United Nationas Research Institute for Social Development, Geneva.Google Scholar
  18. Wodon, Q. and S. Yitzhaki (2003) Inequality and the Accounting Period, Economics Bulletin, 4(36), 1-8.Google Scholar
  19. Yitzhaki, S. and Q. Wodon (2004) Mobility, Inequality, and Horizontal Equity, Research on Economic Inequality, 12, 179-199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Quentin Wodon
    • 1
  • Shlomo Yitzhaki
    • 2
  1. 1.World BankWashington D.C.
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsThe Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations