The human values index: Conceptual foundations and evidence from Brazil

Flavio Comim, Pedro V. Amaral

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The dominance of the 'growth fetish' ideology has much contributed to lure societies into believing that people's value judgements are unnecessary for a better life and social justice. The theme 'human values' became the central research topic for the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report team in Brazil after the promotion of a nationwide consultation to choose the focus of its 2009/10 report. A new index, named the Human Values Index (HVI), was created to tackle the issue of human values as part of development strategies. The main objective of this paper is to introduce this index, showing its features and properties. The HVI is built on an understanding that development is not a value-neutral concept and that from a human development perspective, welfare indicators should be qualitatively closer to human values focusing on statistics that can be useful to ordinary citizens, with the hope that in their hands the HVI might become a useful tool in promoting public reasoning and social justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1241
Number of pages21
JournalCambridge Journal of Economics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Brazil
  • Development
  • Human values


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