Human development is a paradigm of development alternative to the dominant one, which distinguishes the means of development from its ends. The goal of human development is to expand people’s real chances of living the kind of life that they value (human flourishing). The traditional goals of economic development – income and GDP growth, modernization and industrialization, technical progress, the expansion of trade, macroeconomic stability – are only means to promote human development. The latter, therefore, cannot be measured and evaluated in terms of production (e.g. GDP), resources, income, trade, inflation, or competitiveness, but rather in terms of improvements in people’s well-being and not solely material living standards, as well the expansion of real opportunities to lead a life which is valued. The theoretical framework of human development is the capability approach initially developed by Amartya Sen.
Studies and research on human development therefore focus on the (quality of) people’s lives and their substantive freedoms, rather than on the possession, production and exchange of goods, given that the relations between well-being and goods are subject to parametric variations. The central concepts of human development are both deprivation of basic capabilities, such as unemployment, poverty and hunger, and deprivation of more complex capabilities, such as those related to civil rights or social exclusion. For this reason, human development constitutes a universal paradigm which can be applied to both low-income and high-income countries. Another central theme of human development concerns inequalities, understood not as income disparities but instead evaluated in terms of capabilities. Among these, gender inequalities are of particular importance given the fundamental role of women in human development.
The Rossi-Doria Centre funds grants for the Master in Human Development and Food Security. More generally, the Rossi-Doria Centre intends to draw on and develop the stock of knowledge and relations present in this field at Roma Tre University, particularly within the Department of Economics, the purpose being to organize research projects, seminars, and summer schools with Italian and foreign scholars.