This paper argues that the future of the Human Development Index published by the United Nations depends on how successfully this index becomes operational and this is more likely to be possible at the country level for a variety of reasons. With this in mind the paper proposes a method and a model for the systematic reduction of regional disparities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a problem which is of serious concern to policy makers in Iran at present. A number of indicators of education, health and economic welfare, from the recent Human Development Report of Iran 1999, are employed to compare 26 provinces (regions) of Iran. This paper proposes (i) a method for combining the data into a composite index of development and thereby ranking provinces with respect to their overall development; (ii) it proposes a method for capturing the extent of regional disparities with respect to the selected indicators and (iii) it suggests a way of including the results into a policy model which aims at the systematic reduction of regional disparities in Iran. For this purpose it computes a set of targets for various provinces and suggests a way of adjusting these targets.
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