Leandro Prados de la Escosura

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A not-so-silly debate! Response to Jan Luiten van Zanden’s review

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Keywords: Human Development Index (HDI), living standard, economic development

Jan Luiten van Zanden, a distinguished scholar, has written a most negative assessment of my new book. A critical assessment means that one’s work is taken seriously, and I am grateful for the time and effort it represents. The book aims at presenting a historical perspective of world human development over the last one and a half centuries. Jan Luiten van Zanden considers the whole exercise misleading because it is based on unwarranted, subjective, and arbitrary assumptions and completely neglects the impact of economic growth on well-being. In my opinion, this view results from a shallow and hasty reading of the book. In the following paragraphs, I would like to argue why

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