Apparently, we’re talking about the UN Human Development Index this week… the god’s demand it.

So, on the theme of “gawd-damn-it-quit-comparing-Iceland (pop. 300k)-to-the-U.S. (pop. 300m)”, here’s the HDI by states:

Connecticut would be third on the list, Delaware and Massachusetts seventh and Minnesota tenth. The lowest ranking state is Mississippi and it still ranks higher than European (so it must be better) Romania and Health Care Paradise Cuba.

Here’s the data (xls).

4 thoughts on “HDI”

  1. No. That’s bad. If you end up comparing an US state to Romania, you’re in big trouble.

    Romania spent aprox. 50 years under Communism and some 15+ years as a wasted, “transitional” economy, while getting admitted into the EU more likely for political rather than economic reasons.

    So I don’t think you want to play this game at all…

  2. No I do, because that’s exactly my point. The heterogeneity of the U.S. states is at least as large of the heterogeneity of Europe. Why should Connecticut be lumped in with Mississippi? Each state has vastly different education and health care policies. The economies are very dissimilar. The cultures are vastly different.

    I can see someone making the argument that lumping the states together to compare cross-country GDP makes sense. They would argue the states have a common currency, a unified trade policy and there’s free flow of factors between the states. Fine.

    I don’t think you can make a similar argument in regards to health care policy and education policy, the two other components of the HDI. Education policy is explicitly set at the state level, with minor levels of Federal funding. Health care policy is more mixed (old people are funded through the Feds), and its getting more federal by the moment. Historically, though, the things that would have affected lifespans were affected by state level policy.

    Mississippi has a pretty checkered past, too, by the way.

  3. Also, the variance of the HDI across states kinda proves my point. If there was no variation, then it would be ok to lump ’em together. But if we have the data, we not disaggregate?

Comments are closed.