chapter  4
19 Pages

On measuring economic development


Economic development is one of the objectives of any country, rich or poor; and it is the primary objective of most of the nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The term “economic development” is not quite understood as its frequent use may suggest. When people from South Asia, Africa or Latin America visit any OECD countries, usually they observe residents who are well fed, well clothed, have houses with toilets and bathrooms with clean running water, whose children have the opportunity to get education, who have access to health care and possess access to a wide variety of commodities. The visitors immediately recognize that the host country is a developed country in comparison with the home country. The home country in question is perhaps characterized as under-developed, less developed or developing. Since the problems of development are fundamentally different in the lessdeveloped (or developing) and developed countries, it may be prudent to use the term “economic development” solely to characterize the economic progress of the less-developed or developing countries. The question is how one would measure economic development! It is indeed very important to have a metric for the policymakers to determine the necessary steps that are to be taken to achieve their objective.