Measuring human wellbeing and advancing sustainable development: How credible are the UNDP's Human Development Reports

2017-06-06T03:45:23Z (GMT) by Tokuyama, Chieko Pillarisetti, J. Ram
The broad objectives of the Human Development Report (HDR) and the estimates of human wellbeing are to identify policies that reduce poverty, economic and gender inequalities and increase human wellbeing. Since inception in 1990, the HDR and the methodological and measurement issues relating to the now well known Human Development Index (HDI) have undergone several transformations. This paper empirically looks at reliability of databases from HDRs with a special focus on the estimations methodology and data revisions of the HDI, recent growth trend in HDI and real income. It also looks selectively at major shift in policy directions for sustainable development in the HDRs. This paper notes that the databases in the HDRs exhibit significant measurement errors and inadequacies. The measurement errors are more conspicuous in case of data pertaining to low-income developing countries. This paper also notes that besides database problems, issues relating to policy revisions in the recent Reports raise serious questions of credibility with the Reports.