Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 56, Issue 8, pp 969–980

A reassessment of the human development index via data envelopment analysis

Theoretical Paper

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.jors.2601927

Cite this article as:
Despotis, D. J Oper Res Soc (2005) 56: 969. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2601927


To consider different aspects of life when measuring human development, the United Nations Development Program introduced the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI is a composite index of socioeconomic indicators that reflect three major dimensions of human development: longevity, knowledge and standard of living. In this paper, the assessment of the HDI is reconsidered in the light of data envelopment analysis (DEA). Instead of a simple rank of the countries, human development is benchmarked on the basis of empirical observations of best practice countries. First, on the same line as HDI, we develop a DEA-like model to assess the relative performance of the countries in human development. Then we extend our calculations with a post-DEA model to derive global estimates of a new development index by using common weights for the socioeconomic indicators. Finally, we introduce the transformation paradigm in the assessment of human development. We develop a DEA model to estimate the relative efficiency of the countries in converting income to knowledge and life opportunities.


human development index data envelopment analysis development 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PiraeusGreece

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