Skip to main content

A reconsideration of the tradeoffs in the new human development index

This paper demonstrates that the perfect tradeoff implication of the old Human Development Index can be avoided by employing a notion of imperfect tradeoff in the characterization of the Human Development Index. The resulting index is shown to be ordinally equivalent to the Chakravarty (Rev Dev Econ 7:99–114, 2003) generalized Human Development Index.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Aczel, J.: Lectures on Functional Equations and Their Applications. Academic, New York (1966)

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Chakravarty, S.R.: A generalized human development index. Rev. Dev. Econ. 7, 99–114 (2003)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Kolm, S.C.: Unequal inequalities I. J. Econ. Theory 12, 416–442 (1969)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Ravallion, M.: Troubling tradeoffs in the Human Development Index. Policy Research Working Paper No. 5484, World Bank (2010)

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Satya R. Chakravarty.

Additional information

For comments and suggestions, I thank Jean-Yves Duclos and Nora Lustig. I am grateful to Martin Ravallion for making his unpublished paper available to me.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chakravarty, S.R. A reconsideration of the tradeoffs in the new human development index. J Econ Inequal 9, 471 (2011).

Download citation


  • Human development index
  • Tradeoffs
  • Axioms
  • Characterization