Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Provincial Human Development Index, a Guide for Efficiency Level Analysis: The Case of Iran

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Provincial Human Development Index, a Guide for Efficiency Level Analysis: The Case of Iran

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite indicator that can show the impact of economic strategies on human life standards. The index is calculated by three main factors of income, education and health. This research studies the status of HDI across the Iranian provinces, its changes over time and the efficiency of provinces in using resources.

Methods: The data for 2001 and 2009 was obtained from the Iranian Center of Statistics. Data envelopment analysis technique was used to analyze the data. To calculate the efficiency, Banker, Charnes and Cooper's model was used.

Results: The national mean for the HDI in 2001 was 0.717 while it grew to 0.747 in 2009. Except for one province, all others had an improved human development index. Low ranked provinces such as Sistan & Baluchistan and Kurdistan stayed at the bottom in 2009 as well. Some provinces such as Bushehr with developing oil industries, or those purposively benefited from national oil income showed good growth. In some provinces, such as Hormozgan, out-migration of manpower to its neighboring province, Bushehr, was associated with decrease of the provincial income level. The number of efficient provinces increased from 5 to 13 in 2009.

Conclusion: Iran falls among countries with high human development index based on the 2009 data. However, the distribution of HDI status across provinces was highly varied and the difference between high- and low-developed provinces increased in 2009. The government needs to revise policies concerning distribution of resources among the provinces.

Keywords: Human development index, Efficiency, Data envelopment analysis, BCC model, Resource allocation, Iran

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

In the late 1950s and early 1960s social indicators were basic elements for decision and policy mak-ing and planning in various areas (1). Through 1970s the indicators were used to evaluate and compare the development status of different countries. In 1990, Human Development Index (HDI) was defined by a Pakistani economist, Ma-hbub ul Haq, in order to set the focus of develop-ment from national level, generally measured by national income, to individual development as-pects (2). Thereafter, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) used this in its annual human development reports. The index is a composite indicator of three factors: life expec-tancy, education and adjusted Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita (3). Although HDI en-compasses per capita GDP in itself, some studies have shown correlation between the whole HDI and GDP per capita as well (4).

According to the Human Development Report (HDR) in 1994, human development means the population of communities increase their skills and abilities and use them in economic, social, cultural and political fields to improve the community (5). The report in 1995 defines human development as a process to expand the individu-al's choices in the society and in terms of opportunities (6). People's choices are unlimited and varied over time, but three necessary opportunities should be met through choices are to have a healthy long life, acquire knowledge, and access resources for creating a standard level of life. If these essential choices are not met, other opportunities will be unattainable (6).

Human Development Index has been criticized for various reasons such as neglecting ecological aspects in comparisons (7); causing ceiling effect on rich nations' growth due to limiting the scores between zero and one (8); low quality of data re-trieved that result in unreal HDI (7); and finally "reinventing the wheel" or adding no new know-ledge about countries' development status, be-cause all HDI elements were defined and used even before HDI was introduced (9-11). Nevertheless, the validity and reliability of HDI has generally been approved by the specialists and experts, especially where 105 researchers from 60 different countries approved the existing method of HDI calculation and agreed on putting equal weight on each of HDI's three domains (12). …

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