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Centre of Development Studies


Title: Rescuing human development from a lip-service syndrome


Authors: Tadashi Hirai, Flavio Comim and Richard Jolly


Abstract: Despite widespread attention and praise from policy‐makers, practitioners and individual academics for the Human Development Report, the paradigm of human development has often lacked sustained academic and operational policy‐making attention. Investigating this undesirable disconnect and discussing the possible reasons behind it, this article reveals two fundamental challenges: to make more specific the rich concepts of human development and to relate them to the dominant concepts of development globally and to motivate and guide the context‐specific choices made within national and regional contexts. Addressing these challenges will require a more careful exploration of the theoretical and operational implications of the work of Sen and Nussbaum as well as their adoption by the Human Development Report Office at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). To achieve this, the article makes some proposals both to UNDP and to academia for the future directions of this approach. The proposals seek to chart pathways out of the current economic stagnation and slowdown.


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