Skip to content

Tag Archives: Human Development Index

Hey, fellow committee member, are you the weakest link?

UPDATE: 12:18 PM SEE END OF POST

I was just on a committee that selected a small number of papers from a large number of submissions for a conference.  We each graded each paper and then we had to come up with a rule to go from our individual grades to a ranking of the papers to decide which ones got into the conference. So here are some possible rules:

(1) one veto kills the…

Posted in Academic research, Cognitive biases, Metrics and evaluation | Also tagged , , , 2 Comments

Third World America

UPDATE 11:20AM: accused of Detroit “poverty porn”, see response below.

As you may have noticed, this blog sees America itself as an interesting development laboratory. Others seem to agree, as a new report applies the Human Development Index to the US.

The site has a cool mapping function. Here is a map of health that locates Third World America in the Deep South and its borderlands.

The South as Third World holds up…

Posted in Data and statistics, Maps | Also tagged , , 37 Comments

Human Development Index debate…you still want more?

I suspect that we long ago exhausted the patience of our readers with our multiple rounds of debate on the Human Development Report’s new methodology for its Human Development Index. At the same time, I feel an obligation to let the other side of the debate have their say as much as they want. So here is UNDP’s new response to Martin Ravallion’s response to UNDP’s previous response to our original blog criticizing the…

Posted in Aid debates, Metrics and evaluation | Also tagged 2 Comments

Substitutability: there is no substitute for learning this wonky concept if you want your project to succeed

The debate we had on the HDI brought up the seemingly drop-dead boring jargon “substitutability.” Surprise! This actually turns out to be a USEFUL concept.

Consider two extremes in an everyday example.  For producing the output: “weird music that Bill listens to,” my iPod and my iPhone are perfect substitutes, so one is redundant for this purpose (forget about other purposes for now). For producing this same output, headphones and the iPod are NOT…

Posted in Academic research, Aid policies and approaches, Economics principles | 9 Comments

Human Development Index Debate Round 2: UNDP, you’re still wrong

by Martin Ravallion, Director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank

Francisco Rodriguez has defended the HDI against recent criticisms by Bill Easterly and Laura Freschi, who drew in part on my new paper, “Troubling Tradeoffs in the Human Development Index.”

Francisco would make a good lawyer, since he defends his case vigorously on multiple fronts. But this leaves a puzzle about his true position. On the one hand…

Posted in Academic research, Data and statistics | 5 Comments

What the New HDI tells us about Africa

by Francisco Rodríguez, Head of Research at the Human Development Report Office

In a post published last Thursday, Bill Easterly and Laura Freschi criticize the new formula for the Human Development Index (HDI) introduced in this year’s Human Development Report.  Borrowing on a recent paper by the World Bank’s Martin Ravallion, Easterly and Freschi argue that our decision to shift from an additive to a multiplicative mean makes Africa look much worse than it…

Posted in Data and statistics | 4 Comments

The First Law of Development Stats: Whatever our Bizarre Methodology, We make Africa look Worse

UPDATE: Just received notice of drastic punishment for this post: invited to join HDR 2011 Advisory Panel

I’ve complained previously about how design of the UN Millennium Development Goals make sub-Saharan Africa look worse than it really is. Now I realize that UNDP’s new Human Development Report (HDR) does the same thing. Not alleging any conspiracy here, it seems unintentional, but is then not caught because … well we all know Africa is…

Posted in Data and statistics | 30 Comments