Measuring Human Development: A Multi-criteria Approach

Research paper by Mariano Luque, Salvador Pérez-Moreno, Beatriz Rodríguez

Indexed on: 25 Jan '15Published on: 25 Jan '15Published in: Social indicators research


In 2010 the Human Development Index (HDI) was revised with several major changes. Many of its problems were tackled, although some drawbacks still persist. This paper proposes a multi-criteria approach to measure human development, propounding two innovations for the computation of the HDI: (1) the introduction of a double reference point scheme in the normalization; (2) an aggregation function which deals with the problem of substitutability between components. In particular, for each component of the HDI the value of each country is normalized by means of two reference values (aspiration and reservation values) by using an achievement scalarizing function that is piecewise linear. Aggregating the new normalized values, we calculate a range of indices with different degrees of substitutability: (1) a weak index that allows total substitutability; (2) a strong index that measures the state of the worst component and allows no substitutability; and (3) a mixed index that is a combination of the first two.