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Frustrated Freedom: The Effects of Agency and Wealth on Wellbeing in Rural Mozambique

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  • Victor, Bart
  • Fischer, Edward F.
  • Cooil, Bruce
  • Vergara, Alfredo
  • Mukolo, Abraham
  • Blevins, Meridith
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    Abstract

    In the capability approach to poverty, wellbeing is threatened by both deficits of wealth and deficits of agency. Sen describes that “unfreedom,” or low levels of agency, will suppress the wellbeing effects of higher levels of wealth. We introduce another condition, “frustrated freedom,” in which higher levels of agency belief can heighten the poverty effects of low levels of wealth. Presenting data from a study of female heads of household in rural Mozambique, we find that agency belief moderates the relationship between wealth and wellbeing, uncovering evidence of frustrated freedom.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 30-41

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:47:y:2013:i:c:p:30-41

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    Keywords: poverty; capabilities; agency; wellbeing; Mozambique; Africa;

    References

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    1. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
    2. Sabina Alkire, 2008. "Concepts and Measures of Agency," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp010, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    3. Ruth Alsop & Mette Bertelsen & Jeremy Holland, 2006. "Empowerment in Practice : From Analysis to Implementation," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6980, October.
    4. Chambers, Robert, 1997. "Editorial: Responsible well-being -- a personal agenda for development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(11), pages 1743-1754, November.
    5. David Clark, 2009. "Adaptation, Poverty and Well-Being: Some Issues and Observations with Special Reference to the Capability Approach and Development Studies," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 21-42.
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    8. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
    9. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Shimon Kogan, 2009. "Distinguishing the Effect of Overconfidence from Rational Best-Response on Information Aggregation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(5), pages 1889-1914, May.
    11. Kotan, Murat, 2010. "Freedom or happiness? Agency and subjective well-being in the capability approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 369-375, June.
    12. Alkire, Sabina, 2005. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199283316, September.
    13. Deepa Narayan & Patti Petesch, 2002. "Voices of the Poor : From Many Lands," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14053, October.
    14. Solava Ibrahim & Sabina Alkire, 2007. "Agency and Empowerment: A Proposal for Internationally Comparable Indicators," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 379-403.
    15. Deepa Narayan, 2005. "Measuring Empowerment : Cross Disciplinary Perspectives," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7441, October.
    16. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, July.
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