Thursday, March 7, 2013
In response to yesterday's post, several commenters suggested looking at the UN's human development index, a composite measurement which combines components of education, life expectancy, and income. I was able to generate the above figure at the UN's HDI website; which again compares Venezuela to Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
I think the comparison is important. Most countries have developed significantly in recent decades, so absolute improvements from the beginning to the end of Chavez's reign don't tell us much - we want to know if he did better or worse than governments in somewhat similar countries.
I agree this index places things in a different perspective. Recalling that Chavez came to power in 1999, we see that there was a long period from 1980 to the late 1990s when Venezuela was doing much worse than its neighbors (possibly why the citizenry decided they needed Chavez). After 1999, Venezuela appears to have done better than its neighbors.
I'm somewhat puzzled by this - given that yesterday we found that income and life expectancy did worse in Venezuela, this implies either that Chavez massively outperformed on the education front, or that there is a data or analysis issue of some kind. I will try to investigate further tomorrow.