DP13744 Human Development in the Age of Globalisation

Author(s): Leandro Prados de la Escosura
Publication Date: May 2019
Keyword(s): Health Transition, Human Development, Liberal democracy, Life Expectancy, schooling, Well-being
JEL(s): I00, N30, O15
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13744

This paper provides a long run view of human development as a capabilities measure of well-being for the last one-and-a-half centuries on the basis of an augmented historical human development index [AHHDI] that combines achievements in health, education, living standard, plus liberal democracy, and provides an alternative to the UN Human Development Index, HDI. The AHHDI shows substantial gains in world human development since 1870, especially during 1913-1970, but much room for improvement exists. Life expectancy has been the leading force behind its progress, especially until 1970. Human development spread unevenly. The absolute gap between western Europe and its offshoots plus Japan -the OECD- and the Rest of the world deepened over time, though fell in relative terms, with catching-up driven by longevity during the epidemiological transition and by democratisation thereafter. This result compares favourably with the growing income gap. Economic growth and human development do not always go hand-in-hand.