Building an index of human development Essay Example

  • Category:
    Geography
  • Document type:
    Assignment
  • Level:
    Masters
  • Page:
    2
  • Words:
    1066

Building an Index of Human Development

  1. What is ‘human development’ and why is it important that we measure it?

Human development targets expanding human life richness rather than focusing on the richness of the economy (Gerring, Thacker, and Alfaro, 2012). It measures the access in which population has to safety, leisure, health, nutrition, education, jobs and wealth (UNDP, 2016). It also incorporates cultural and political freedom. Human development can further be classified as creating conditions for human development and directly enhancing human abilities (Bray et al. 2012). Some of the variables, which enhances human abilities include the standard of living, knowledge, long and healthy life. Other variables that create human development conditions include gender equality, human security and rights, environmental sustainability, and participation in community and political life.

  1. Briefly describe the first index that you produced. In particular, discuss: What indicators were used? How did you weight the indicators, and why? What results did you produce?

The indicators used include adult literacy, life expectancy at birth, GNI per capita and infant mortality rate (UNDP, 2016). The data is obtained through standardization process in which the data is compared to different country’s data to obtained usable “ratio.” The adult literacy indicates the education and quality of education (Bray et al. 2012). Life expectancy presents information on the lifespan of an individual: expected years the individual lives on earth; the GNI presents economic information while infant mortality rate indicates the number of success births with problems associated with deaths.

The information is obtained by calculating the maximum and minimum from each data. The maximum value is obtained, and the minimum value is obtained. The minimum value from the array is subtracted from an indicator and divided by the difference between the maximum values from the minimum value. Under the Appendix, First Index indicates the standardized data obtained after the calculations. The weights used are 0.4, 0.1, 0.2 and 0.2 for literacy, life expectancy, GNI per capita and infant mortality rate respectively. In weighing the indicators, the concentration was on literacy since education increases the social and economic position of the country (UNDP, 2016). Through education, it is possible to adjust the different requirements influencing human development (Gerring, Thacker, and Alfaro, 2012). For example, educated individuals are able to determine infant mortality measures and seek employment to support the economy.

  1. Briefly describe the second index that you produced. How did you change the weights, and why? Did the results change? Why/why not?

The weights were changed to 0.3, 0.2, 0.2, and 0.4 for literacy, life expectancy, GNI per capita and infant mortality rate respectively: the data obtained is indicated as second indexing in the appendix. The standardized matrix values did not change, but the ranking values changed. The changes in ranking are evident because some countries such as Sweden dropped in the ranking while the United States rose. The analysis of the data indicates changing the weights affects the ranking, and skewed weighting approach may discredit the outcome of the analysis (Bray et al. 2012). The weights changes were premised on negating the economic status and concentration targeted on human life requirements such as literacy and infant mortality. The changes mean the countries having good health and education system have better human development credentials.

  1. How should the indicators be weighted to most accurately measure and rank levels of human development? Are there any other indicators you think should be used to measure human development?

Measuring human development is important and additional indicators should be included (UNDP, 2016). For example, human rights and human freedom are important in the changing human developmental requirements and should be factored into the indicators regime. Other indicators may include environmental degradation and resource exploitation (Bray et al. 2012). However, these indicators should be analyzed and integrated into the indexing system because some countries such as China may indicate a good economic situation, which through the use of limited human development index may mean it is democratic: however, China may be seen as undemocratic. Countries such as Indonesia and Brazil have similar resources, but the levels of developments are different requiring the component of resources and exploitation of the resources to be integrated in a critical manner (Gerring, Thacker, and Alfaro, 2012). The developed countries also produce numerous resources, but complaints exist in environmental degradation. Including environmental degradation into the equation may present avenues of understanding the position of African countries, which are less developed and lack extensive manufacturing and production capabilities.

It also balances the requirements of human development because health conditions and standards of living are different among countries (Gerring, Thacker, and Alfaro, 2012). For example, African does not have extensive infrastructural development but certain rural communities have better lives compared with the developed nations. These indicators should be utilized in developing a framework indicating human development.

References

Bray, F., Jemal, A., Grey, N., Ferlay, J., and Forman, D., 2012. Global cancer transitions according to the Human Development Index (2008–2030): a population-based study. The Lancet Oncology, 13(8), pp.790-801.

Gerring, J., Thacker, S.C. and Alfaro, R., 2012. Democracy and human development. The Journal of Politics, 74(01), pp.1-17.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP). (2016). Human developments. Retrieved from http://hdr.undp.org/en/contacts/about

Appendix

First Index (Question 2)

Value Transformed/Standardized Matrix

 Literacy

 Life expectancy

 GNI per capita

Infant mortality 

0

Australia

0.9931663

0.975027

0.579661

0.6833713

0.767644

0.984746

0.9840547

0.932203

0.8041002

0.855592

0.8997722

0.972856

D.R. of the Congo

0.438983

0.3690205

0.193268

Dominican Republic

0.816949

0.8906606

0.742671

Guinea-Bissau

0.191525

0.2209567

0

0.359322

0.5148064

0.376764

Hong Kong

0.910169

0.9977221

0.993485

0.588136

0.7220957

0.697068

Indonesia

0.866102

0.7425968

0.832203

0.808656

0.858849

0.889831

0.8724374

0.842562

New Zealand

0.984746

0.9658314

0.973941

Nicaragua

0.628814

0.7585421

0.753529

Papua New Guinea

0.325424

0.6400911

0.534202

Pakistan

0.5990888

0.318132

Sierra Leone

0

0.0683371

0.193268

Singapore

0.911864

South Africa

0.798305

0.2460137

0.542888

0.984746

0.977221

0.995657

United Kingdom

0.984746

0.9544419

0.975027

0.984746

0.9157175

0.959826

0

Australia

0.904696

0.555298

0.899071

0.740647

0.835777

D.R. of the Congo

0.270476

Dominican Republic

0.667565

Guinea-Bissau

0.100502

0.311553

Hong Kong

0.906307

Indonesia

0.715388

0.738794

New Zealand

0.871991

Nicaragua

0.564066

Papua New Guinea

0.360025

Pakistan

0.284338

Sierra Leone

0.068626

Singapore

0.964746

South Africa

0.538333

0.909207

United Kingdom

0.877943

0.917631

Question 3 (Second Indexing)

0

Australia

0.944741

0.630032

0.938561

0.798057

0.896068

D.R. of the Congo

0.282806

Dominican Republic

0.734744

Guinea-Bissau

0.102547

0.363121

Hong Kong

Indonesia

0.776925

0.799886

New Zealand

Nicaragua

0.647078

Papua New Guinea

0.442119

Pakistan

0.340887

Sierra Leone

0.092881

Singapore

0.973559

South Africa

0.521621

0.948576

United Kingdom

0.924369

0.934604