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Another Approach to Measuring Human Development: The Composite Dynamic Human Development Index

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This paper seeks mainly to contribute to the debate on how the relative degree of development of a country should be measured by proposing an indicator to build on the valuable starting point provided by the Human Development Index (HDI). The indicator proposed is called the “Composite, Dynamic Human Development Index”. It incorporates in a simple way additional points which are significant for the current concept of human development and provides a dynamic factor that distinguishes between countries on the basis of achievements attained. It helps ensure that the static average data on which the HDI is based does not conceal wide-ranging economic, social and political differences within countries, lack of sustainability in current levels of development or effective development strategies drawn up by governments.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    His intention can be summed up in a single sentence: ‘‘to shift the focus of development economics from national income accounting to people centered policies’’ (Haq 1995).

  2. 2.

    If ∆HDI1980–2010j < 0, the value 0 is adopted; the highest average annual HDI growth rate for 1980–2010 is that of Nepal with 2.37 %.

  3. 3.

    We propose the calculation of the arithmetic mean for the 8 components Cji (by contrast with the criterion adopted in 2010 by the UNDP for calculating the HDI, which is now the geometric mean of the components) for four reasons: (1) because when one of the components of the geometric mean is zero, that mean is not determined and with there being 8 components in Cji it is increasingly likely that this situation will arise; (2) because the existence of those 8 components neutralises to a greater extent the potential appearance of extreme values, to which the arithmetic mean is highly sensitive when there are fewer components; (3) because the statistical significance of the arithmetic mean is more intuitive than that of the geometric mean; and (4) because the geometric mean is always lower than or equal to the arithmetic mean, so it is preferable to have a greater capacity for differentiating between the values obtained for the different countries from the ordinal viewpoint.


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Correspondence to Javier Bilbao-Ubillos.

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Bilbao-Ubillos, J. Another Approach to Measuring Human Development: The Composite Dynamic Human Development Index. Soc Indic Res 111, 473–484 (2013).

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  • Human development concept and measurement
  • New indicator proposal
  • Composite and dynamic perspective
  • Social cohesion
  • Sustainability