2 separate essays. 2000 words each

ESSAY I:  Metrics of Human Development


Use the statistics on this website to inform your essay.  http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

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The attached Excel Tables, Articles and Technical Notes should also inform you answers.


1.   What does GDP per capita income measure? What are the problems with this kind of a metric?


2.  What is the HDI development indicator?  Compare the pre- and post -2010 why of calculating the composite index.  What are the problems with the old and new composite index?  Is the new metric better?  Give an example.


3.  Looking at excel-sheet (table1), explain why the rank by HDI and GNI can be so different?  Would you agree with Ravallion’s position that the HDI and GNI are the same indicators? 


Ravallion, M. (1997) “Good and Bad Growth: The Human Development Reports” World Development, Vol.25, no.5, pp631-638.  


4. In excel-sheet (table 2) we see changes in the HDI over-time.  Comment on the speed of change.  In addition comment on the nature of change:In 1960 the majority of the world’s people, 73% were in the ‘low’ human development category. In 1992 only 35% were in that category. Nearly two thirds had shifted to the medium or high category of HDI. But while HDI may be improving, recent research still suggests the number of those living in poverty (under one dollar per day) may have risen!”


An article that may help


Crafts, N. (2002), ‘The Human Development Index, 1870–1999: Some Revised Estimates’, European Review of Economic History, 6, 395–405.


5. Comment on the problems with the HDI metric?

  1. Should it incorporate more variables: environment, food security, political rights or gender?
  2. What problems are created by inadequate and unreliable data?
  3. Aid Conditionality may be attached to the HDI rank. Should it be used?



6. Going beyond GDP and 2015, discuss the UNDP proposed Global or Sustainable Development Goals and Indicators.


Essay II Inequality and Development

Discuss the drivers of income or social inequalities across households within nations


Guidline to answer essay

 a)Theory : Are inequalities an outcome of discrimination (lack of freedoms) or do they reflect household varying abilities?  

b) Lecture Applications: Can your analysis explain why certain households are more vulnerable to famine or long term illness?

c) In your opinion: What is (are) the most important determinant(s) of social inequality?   


*Can write as one complete essay or answer each section separately

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