Measurement of disparities between indicators associated with the welfare in least developed countries (LCDs) of Asia

Measuring factors that affect countries’ social welfare is a complex task,
especially in the case of the Least Developed Countries. Despite this difficulty,
important advances have been made, though many more remain to be made
in the search for procedures that will enrich these analyses.
In this article we present a new proposal for the measurement of disparities
between indicators of social welfare, applied to a group of countries especially
affected by poverty: the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) which in the
terminology of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) are the poorest of the poor. In our analysis we will refer to the Asian
Our index is novel in that it has been constructed taking into account a
larger number of variables than the welfare indices most usually used, and the
criteria defined in the Goals of the Millennium Declaration, which are generally
considered to determine countries’ levels of underdevelopment.
As technique applied to the data, provided by the UN and listed in the
Annual Report of the LDCs for 2007, the latest year for which definitive data
were available, we have used the P2 distance method. This index integrates
socio-economic variables that permit a ranking of the LDCs of Asia, in terms of
those partial indicators.
Eduardo Cuenca García
José Antonio Rodríguez Martín
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