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The political economy of development
This academic site promotes excellence in teaching and researching economics and development, and the advancing of describing, understanding, explaining and theorizing.
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Human Development Reports Statistics
Background Papers:
In preparation for the Human Development Report every year, the HDRO commissions a number of experts to write papers on issues related to the theme of the Report. The following is a compilation of selected Occasional Papers written since 1992. Individually, each paper brings to light a key facet of human development in different parts of the world. Together, they help establish a framework of tools, concepts and actions to address the issue of human development worldwide.
The report also draws from a number of independent research papers by distinguished academics and policymakers. These background papers are available online and can also be purchased from the UN publications office.


Thematic Papers

Issue Notes

  • Pederson, Peter D. "Japan"


Thematic Papers

Issue Notes

Additional Papers


Thematic papers

Issue notes

Barber, Catherine. 2005. “Potential Benefits of Labour Mobility and Mode 4 Negotiations: Rule of Origin and Trade Preferences.”



Country Case Studies









  • Haq, Mahbub ul. "Reflections on Human Development" (available from Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-510193-6)


      Kaul, Inge, and Saraswathi Menon. "Human Development: From Concept to Action, A 10-Point Agenda"



Human Development Report 2007-2008
Human Development and Climate Change
Climate change is the defining human development challenge of the 21st Century. Failure to respond to that challenge will stall and then reverse international efforts to reduce poverty. The poorest countries and most vulnerable citizens will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks, even though they have contributed least to the problem. Looking to the future, no country—however wealthy or powerful—will be immune to the impact of global warming.
The Human Development Report 2007/2008 shows that climate change is not just a future scenario. Increased exposure to droughts, floods and storms is already destroying opportunity and reinforcing inequality. Meanwhile, there is now overwhelming scientific evidence that the world is moving towards the point at which irreversible ecological catastrophe becomes unavoidable. Business-as-usual climate change points in a clear direction: unprecedented reversal in human development in our lifetime, and acute risks for our children and their grandchildren.
Selected background papers

Human Development Report 2006
Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis
In preparation for the Human Development Report, the HDRO commissions every year a number of experts to write papers on issues related to the theme of the Report. Click here to view the compilation of selected background papers written for the Human Development Report 2006 "Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis". Individually, each paper brings to light a key facet of human development in different parts of the world. Together, they help establish a framework of tools, concepts and actions to address the issue of human development worldwide.

Human Development Report 2005
International cooperation at a crossroads: Aid, trade and security in an unequal world
This year's Human Development Report takes stock of human development, including progress towards the MDGs. Looking beyond statistics, it highlights the human costs of missed targets and broken promises. Extreme inequality between countries and within countries is identified as one of the main barriers to human development and as a powerful brake on accelerated progress towards the MDGs.

Human Development Report 2004
Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World
Accommodating people's growing demands for their inclusion in society, for respect of their ethnicity, religion, and language, takes more than democracy and equitable growth. Also needed are multicultural policies that recognize differences, champion diversity and promote cultural freedoms, so that all people can choose to speak their language, practice their religion, and participate in shaping their culture so that all people can choose to be who they are.

Human Development Report 2003
Millennium Development Goals: A compact among nations to end human poverty
The range of human development in the world is vast and uneven, with astounding progress in some areas amidst stagnation and dismal decline in others. Balance and stability in the world will require the commitment of all nations, rich and poor, and a global development compact to extend the wealth of possibilities to all people.

Human Development Report 2002
Deepening democracy in a fragmented world
This Human Development Report is first and foremost about the idea that politics is as important to successful development as economics. Sustained poverty reduction requires equitable growth-but it also requires that poor people have political power. And the best way to achieve that in a manner consistent with human development objectives is by building strong and deep forms of democratic governance at all levels of society.

Human Development Report 2001
Making new technologies work for human development
Technology networks are transforming the traditional map of development, expanding people's horizons and creating the potential to realize in a decade progress that required generations in the past.

Human Development Report 2000
Human rights and human development
Human Development Report 2000 looks at human rights as an intrinsic part of development and at development as a means to realizing human rights. It shows how human rights bring principles of accountability and social justice to the process of human development.

Human Development Report 1999
Globalization with a Human Face
Global markets, global technology, global ideas and global solidarity can enrich the lives of people everywhere. The challenge is to ensure that the benefits are shared equitably and that this increasing interdependence works for people not just for profits. This year's Report argues that globalization is not new, but that the present era of globalization, driven by competitive global markets, is outpacing the governance of markets and the repercussions on people.

Human Development Report 1998
Consumption for Human Development
The high levels of consumption and production in the world today, the power and potential of technology and information, present great opportunities. After a century of vast material expansion, will leaders and people have the vision to seek and achieve more equitable and more human advance in the 21st century.

Human Development Report 1997
Human Development to Eradicate Poverty
Eradicating poverty everywhere is more than a moral imperative - it is a practical possibility. That is the most important message of the Human Development Report 1997. The world has the resources and the know-how to create a poverty-free world in less than a generation.

Human Development Report 1996
Economic growth and human development
The Report argues that economic growth, if not properly managed, can be jobless, voiceless, ruthless, rootless and futureless, and thus detrimental to human development. The quality of growth is therefore as important as its quantity for poverty reduction, human development and sustainability.

Human Development Report 1995
Gender and human development
The report analyses the progress made in reducing gender disparities in the past few decades and highlights the wide and persistent gap between women's expanding capabilities and limited opportunities. Two new measures are introduced for ranking countries on a global scale by their performance in gender equality and there follows an analysis of the under-valuation and non-recognition of the work of women. In conclusion, the report offers a five-point strategy for equalizing gender opportunities in the decade ahead.

Human Development Report 1994
New dimensions of human security
The report introduces a new concept of human security which equates security with people rather than territories, with development rather than arms. It examines both the national and the global concerns of human security.

Human Development Report 1993
People's Participation
The Report examines how and to what extent people participate in the events and processes that shape their lives. It looks at three major means of peoples' participation: people-friendly markets, decentralised governance and community organisations, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and suggests concrete policy measures to address the growing problems of increasing unemployment.

Human Development Report 1992
Global Dimensions of Human Development
The richest 20% of the population now receives 150 times the income of the poorest 20%. The Report suggests a two-pronged strategy to break away from this situation. First, making massive investments in their people and strengthening national technological capacity can enable some developing countries to acquire a strong competitive edge in international markets (witness the East Asian industrializing tigers). Second, there should be basic international reforms, including restructuring the Bretton Woods institutions and setting up a Development Security Council within the United Nations.

Human Development Report 1991
Financing Human Development
Lack of political commitment rather than financial resources is often the real cause of human development. This is the main conclusion of Human Development Report 1991 - the second in a series of annual reports on the subject.

Human Development Report 1990
Concept and Measurement of human development
The Report addresses, as its main issue , the question of how economic growth translates - or fails to translate - into human development. The focus is on people and on how development enlarges their choices. The Report discusses the meaning and measurement of human development, proposing a new composite index. However, its overall orientation is practical and pragmatic.