Disparities in wealth and development (Measurements of regional and global disparities)

Measurements of regional and global disparities (sub-topic 1 of 4)

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  • Created on: 14-05-13 20:57

Measurements of regional and global disparities (1

Infant mortality : the number of deaths of infants under the age of 1 per 1000 live birth per year. It is an important measure of health equity between countries.

High IMR's are often found in the poorest countries

Most of the causes of a high IMR are often preventable

Where water supply, sanitation, housing & nutrition is adequate, IMR is low.

Difficult to collect and unreliable because of reporting bias


Literacy rate: the ability to read and write at a specified age

It is easily available and valid for international comparisons

Low levels of literacy (& education) can impede the economic development of a country

Education expenditure: the public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP.

Education index: It varies from 0.0 to a maximum of 1. It is based on the adult literacy rate and the combined enrolment for primary, secondary and tertiary education. i.e. Cuba scores highly with 0.993, showing that a country that invests in its education system may have a high index without necessarily being rich.

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Measurements of regional and global disparities (2


Nutrition: average amount of calories per person per day, malnutrition prevalence, height for age. It reflects the people's ability to work, get educated and fight diseases.

Prevalence of child malnutrition: the % of children under 5 whose height for age is more than 2 stand.dev. below the median.

 Malnutrition is the condition that develops when the baby doesn't get the right amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. 

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Measurements of regional and global disparities (2


Gross Domestic Product: the total value of all goods and services produced domestically (inside a country) by a nation, during a year

Gross National Income: the total value of goods and services produced within a country together with the balance of income and payments from or to other countries.

GDP/GNI per capita: the total GDP/GNI of a country is divided by the total population. Per capita figures allow for more valid comparisons between countries  when their populations are very different. 

Most countries use different currencies, & because the values of currencies change against each other, it is hard to make accurate comparisons

The informal economy of a country isn't known and regulated by the government (i.e. shoe shining), so it doesn't give an accurate measure of income.

Some goods and services are unpaid (i.e. volunteering and parenting), however they contribute to the economy

It disguises intra-country variations

It doesn't show how government invests the money at its disposal (i.e. Cuba has a low GNI per capita, but high standards of health and education because these have been government priorities for a long time)

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Measurements of regional and global disparities (3

HDI: a composite measure of development, which includes: life expectancy, GNI per capita and GDP per capita.

It doesn't include factors such as people living below the poverty line

Longevity doesn't include quality of life

Only take average of the country and doesn't illustrate disparities within the country

There is failure to include ecological consideration

High levels of development can exist without high income 

Gender-related development index: similar measures as HDI, but also examines inequalities between women and men

Gender empowerment measure - reveals whether women can take active part in economic and political life. It exposes inequality in opportunities in selected areas. It focuses on participation, measuring gender inequality in key areas of economic and political decision-making. It tracks the percentages of women in parliament, among legislators, and professional workers. Norway is first and Yemen last. 

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Measurements of regional and global disparities (4

Marginalization: the process of being pushed to the edge of economic activity

The education index: based on adult literacy and the combined enrolment for primary, secondary and tertiary schools

Overall limitations of development indicators:

-It disguises intra-country variation (i.e. Eastern China is a lot richer than the West)

-Data can be innacurate and incomplete in many countries

-Most only focus on 1 aspect of development

-Most uses average and tend to neglect the sectors of the population that are marginalized

-Indicators are always out of date

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