Working Paper
International Convergence or Higher Inequality in Human Development?

Evidence for 1975 to 2003

The concept of convergence is extended to the human development index. Evidence of weak absolute convergence is found over 1975-2002. The results are robust and verified by various conditional β-convergence models and also supported by the evidence of weak σ-convergence. Population weighted analyses provide support for polarization in the human development index amongst developing countries but a slight reduction in world inequality. The dynamics of regional analysis reveal a movement of sub-Saharan Africa towards the low band of human development with Asia and Latin America making progress. High immobility of the early part of the period is followed by considerable upward and downward mobility in the latter part indicating a possible case of the ‘twin peaks’ type of polarization.