[2010-01-29 HDI 20th Anniversary] eResearch: Strategies to model and monitor human development (Mizohata, S and Jadoul, R)

eResearch: Strategies to model and monitor human development, presented at the Human Development Index 20th Anniversary Conference, at Cambridge, UK, on the 28-29 January 2010 by Ms. Sachie Mizohata, Paris Descartes University and Mr. Raynald Jadoul, Henri Tudor Research Centre


New potential trends in the future Development of the HDI

Since its creation in 1990, the HDI aimed to provide a reliable and yet simple tool to help in the evaluation and the orientation of national policies.  This tool was also expected to consider other aspects than the only sacred GDP.  In accordance with these goals, the “classic” HDI has been designed to encompass three major components, namely health, education, and economics.  This design resulted from debates of a very few specialized persons.  Thus, so far, this tool has been defined and used by specialists to produce data mainly consumed and usable by other specialists (e.g. academics, policy-makers, and decision-takers).  And, considering the context of that period, it was very fine.

Within the past twenty years, many aspects of our world changed.  A steadily growing part of this world is surely entering the era of globalization.  Development of Information and Communication Technologies accelerated this phenomenon, started with the advent of the quasi instantaneous and ubiquitous information (television and radio).  Thus, probably that the time has come to rethink this institution, to wit HDI, first, to broaden it to other dimensions, and second, to forge it on a more participative mode.  Available ICT infrastructures are now able to support a more people-centric, democratic, and contexts-aware debate promoting the development of a set of thematic HDIs that would not replace but rather complete the “classic” HDI.  Then, the HDI would not be anymore an affair of specialists but instead a transparent collaborative construct designed by the people for the people, and therefore, closer to their values, their concerns, and more accessible by everyone.