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The political economy of development
This academic site promotes excellence in teaching and researching economics and development, and the advancing of describing, understanding, explaining and theorizing.
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Human Development Report
Concept and Measurement of Human Development

The Human Development Report (HDR) was first launched in 1990 with the single goal of putting people back at the center of the development process in terms of economic debate, policy and advocacy. The goal was both massive and simple, with far-ranging implications — going beyond income to assess the level of people’s long-term well-being. Bringing about development of the people, by the people, and for the people, and emphasizing that the goals of development are choices and freedoms.

The Report addresses, as its main issue, the question of how economic growth translates - or fails to translate - into human development. The focus is on people and on how development enlarges their choices. The Report discusses the meaning and measurement of human development, proposing a new composite index. But its overall orientation is practical and pragmatic.

It summarizes the record of human development over the past three decades, and it analyses the experience of 14 countries in managing economic growth in the interest of the broadest possible number of people.

With this as its foundation, the Report then sets forth strategies for human development in the 1990s, emphasizing the importance of restructuring budgetary expenditures, including military expenditures, and creating an international economic and financial environment conducive to human development.

Language editions:

English | French | Spanish

The national and regional reports

Background Papers: (none)

This Report is about people - and about how development enlarges their choices. It is about more than GNP growth, more than income and wealth and more than producing commodities and accumulating capital.
A person's access to income may be one of the choices, but it is not the sum total of human endeavour.
Human development is a process of enlarging people's choices. The most critical of these wide-ranging choices are to live a long and healthy life, to be educated and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living. Additional choices include political freedom, guaranteed human rights and personal self-respect.
Development enables people to have these choices. No one can guarantee human happiness, and the choices people make are their own concern. But the process of development should at least create a conducive environment for people, individually and collectively, to develop their full potential and to have a reasonable chance of leading productive and creative lives in accord with their needs and interests.
Human development thus concerns more than the formation of human capabilities, such as improved health or knowledge. It also concerns the use of these capabilities, be it for work, leisure or political and cultural activities. And if the scales of human development fail to balance the formation and use ofhuman capabilities, much human potential will be frustrated.
Human freedom is vital for human development. People must be free to exercise their choices in properly functioning markets, and they must have a decisive voice in shaping their political frameworks.

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