[2010-01-28 HDI 20th Anniversary] Towards a New HDI - historical review and future perspective (Hirai, T)

Towards a New HDI - historical review and future perspective presented at the Human Development Index 20th Anniversary Conference, at Cambridge, UK, on the 28-29 January 2010 by Mr. Tadashi Hirai, University of Cambridge


Over 20 years since its introduction, the Human Development Index (HDI) has proliferated tremendously in the development field and played an essential part as a counterpart of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a predominant indicator for measuring our quality of life.  At the same time, it has received a lot of critiques from various perspectives.  Whilst it can be seen as a positive tendency to the extent that it is influential enough to be criticised worldwide, the critiques should be taken more seriously for the improvement of the HDI.  Although the indicator can never perfectly reflect the reality, it should be revised for measuring relevant aspect of our quality of life.  The structure of this presentation is as follows: first, the critiques of HDI and the responses by the Human Development Reports will be reviewed chronologically; second, all the critiques in the previous section were summarized and categorized to either being solved or unsolved by the reports; finally, some lessons will be addressed, followed by concluding remarks about the future perspective of the HDI.



This presentation, “Towards a New HDI – Historical review and Future Perspective”, was presented by Tadashi Hirai, PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge to a workshop entitled “Twenty Years of Human Development: The past and the future of the Human Development Index.” The workshop was held under the auspices of the Von Hugel Institute/Capability and Sustainability Network of the Univ. of Cambridge, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/Human Development Report Office (HDRO) at the University of Cambridge, on 28-29 January, 2010.