Historical Human Development Index

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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Historical Human Development Index

Post by Guaporense » 28 May 2017 22:12

I found this very interesting index of human development which incorporates data on per capita income, life expectancy and indicators of education:

http://espacioinvestiga.org/home-hihd/h ... s/?lang=en

I compared the per capita income figures in there with my estimates, for 1938 the correlation between the two set of estimates was 0.942. In 1938, at the eve of WW2, the human development indexes of the participating countries were:

European colonies
US -------------- 0.419
Australia ------- 0.424
Canada --------- 0.405
New Zealand --- 0.432

Austria --------- 0.367
Belgium -------- 0.362
Denmark ------- 0.396
France ---------- 0.359
Germany ------- 0.406
Italy ------------ 0.285
Netherlands --- 0.417
Norway --------- 0.405
Poland ---------- 0.259
Russia ---------- 0.267
Switzerland ---- 0.410
Sweden --------- 0.382
UK -------------- 0.390

Japan ---------- 0.296
China ---------- 0.081
India ----------- 0.070

Japan scored particularly well considering it's low levels of per capita income and life expectancy because it's level of education was far above many European countries like Italy. I expected it's HDI index to be lower more like .260 like Russia and Poland. Russia here probably means the USSR.

France in particular was lower than I expected as well.

Also, Germany was particularly high in the index at .406 it was higher than the UK at .390, despite the UK having a slightly higher per capita income and life expectancy, that's because Germany was a more educated country as well (which explains how they won so many nobel prizes at the time).

And apparently, the most developed country in the world was New Zealand. While in Europe it was the Netherlands. While India and China were tremendously destitute and so scored near zero in the index and much lower than even developing countries like Russia and Japan. This index perhaps is a better predictor of per capita warmaking potential than per capita income figures from Maddison.

In 1913, at the eve of WW1 the HDI indexes were:

European colonies
US -------------- 0.308
Australia ------- 0.358
Canada --------- 0.317
New Zealand --- 0.376

Austria --------- 0.266
Belgium -------- 0.277
Denmark ------- 0.335
France ---------- 0.280
Germany ------- 0.314
Hungary -------- 0.183
Italy ------------ 0.197
Netherlands --- 0.323
Norway --------- 0.325
Poland ---------- 0.162
Russia ---------- 0.111
Switzerland ---- 0.331
Sweden ---------0.328
UK -------------- 0.331

Japan ---------- 0.200
China ---------- 0.040
India ----------- 0.041

The UK at .331 was higher than Germany .314 and US, .308 this time. Interestingly, Germany was higher in the HDI than the US in 1913 even though it's per capita income was substantially below (I estimated Germany's income at 85% of the UK's versus 102% for the US, here the per capita income indexes for 1913 are:

UK -------- 0.594
US -------- 0.605
Germany - 0.555

With is similar to my estimates (UK slightly lower than the US, Germany lower than both and by a larger difference than the UK/US difference). I guess Germany was better educated than the US to explain the discrepancy since it's life expectancy was also slightly lower.

The US was relatively lower than in 1938, despite being hit by the great depression in 1938 they were better off relative to European countries by the late 1930's compared to 1913, surpassing UK, Germany, Norway, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland over the same period.

In 1913 the UK was the most developed major power in the world, followed by Germany, with US in third place:

1st - UK
2nd - Germany
3rd - US
4th - France
5th - Austria-Hungary (taking the average of the two countries)
6th - Japan
7th - Italy
8th - Russia

In 1938, the US was the most developed major power in the world, followed by Germany and the UK in third place;

1st - US
2nd - Germany
3rd - UK
4th - France
5th - Japan
6th - Italy
7th - Russia

While Russia was tremendously low in 1913, by 1938 they had improved a lot even though they were still the least developed major power. This improvement was reflected in the war as Russia in WW2 was a much stronger opponent for Germany than in WW1. France was 4th place in both cases but not very much behind the 3rd place, while France's difference to Japan was huge although it had decreased in 1938 relative to 1913.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Historical Human Development Index

Post by Stiltzkin » 29 May 2017 14:28

I have a problem with some values, especially literacy rates. France is supposed to be 1/2 of Germany in the mid 19th century after being the dominant power of the 18th to early 19th century, bringer of the unification and revolution to Germany? Highly unlikely. These values are very artificial and its unclear what they are based on. Its likely that some are accurate, others completely useless. Should you have fluctuations of 0.01-0.05 points it is nigh meaningless, only profound value jumps of at least 0.1-0.25 can be taken seriously. These studies are representative for the latin americas, which they are focused on.
Yes, NZ was the most developed country in the world :lol: - I remember a statistician at our university titling this "the problems with studies and satistical values". The sample must be so small in contrast to the reliable sets that it is distorting the result. NZ has a high living standard nowdays and is certainly one of the most transparent countries, but in the 30s and 40s it certainly did not have a better correlation between income, education and development. If you have a small population you can write down any stat you want.
UK below the US? It gets better...
This is not based on any data whatsoever, it is probably based on data for the later periods and then extrapolated in a model.

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