Inequality of Human Opportunities in Developing Asia | Asian Development Bank

Inequality of Human Opportunities in Developing Asia

Publication | June 2012
Inequality of Human Opportunities in Developing Asia

The study finds that opportunities to access basic education and infrastructure services vary widely in terms of availability and distribution in seven developing Asian countries.

This paper analyzes the equity of opportunity in basic education and infrastructure services in seven developing countries, namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam. The analysis applies a method developed by the World Bank called the Human Opportunity Index. The index measures the total contribution of individuals’ socioeconomic and demographic circumstances to inequality of opportunity in accessing basic services. A new methodology presented in this study, however, provides a way to quantify the relative contribution of each circumstance variable to the inequality of opportunity. Results of the empirical analysis indicate that more needs to be done to improve the distribution of economic benefits. Opportunities to access basic education and infrastructure services in the seven countries vary widely in terms of availability and distribution.

The study also finds that inequality of opportunity is driven mainly by per capita household expenditure. This suggests that household poverty plays a crucial role in determining equitable access to basic services.

Contents 

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Human Opportunity Index
  • Contribution of Individual Circumstance Variables
  • Empirical Analysis
  • Conclusions
  • References