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Intra-Household Inequality: A Challenge For The Capability Approach?

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  • Vegard Iversen
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    Abstract

    In this paper, the author examines the capability approach and how it applies in the context of individuals and families living together on unequal terms. The interpretations of agency, freedom, and choice in Sen's framework are analyzed from a feminist perspective, and the author suggests that these important concepts invite special attention in the presence of domestic power imbalances. Problems with the interpretations embedded in the capability approach are pinpointed and adjustments proposed. Drawing on the vast literature on household behavior in developing countries, the author argues that capabilities have a distinctly interdependent dimension. While the discussion of agency in the capability approach has been either normative or policy-oriented, exercises that seek to evaluate individual well-being should pay more attention to the existence of alternative types of power within the realm of the household.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1354570032000080868
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2-3 ()
    Pages: 93-115

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:9:y:2003:i:2-3:p:93-115

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    Related research

    Keywords: Amartya Sen; Capabilities; Intra-household Inequality; Gender Relations And Power; Agency And Choice;

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    Cited by:
    1. Joan Costa Font & Joan Gil Trasfi, 2007. "Generational Effects on Adult Height in Contemporary Spain: Exploring Gender and Individual Heterogeneity," Working Papers in Economics 169, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    2. Elizabeth Stanton, 2007. "Engendering Human Development: A Critique of the UNDP’s Gender-Related Development Index," Working Papers wp131, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    3. Katharina Mader & Alyssa Schneebaum, 2013. "Zur geschlechtsspezifischen Intrahaushaltsverteilung von Entscheidungsmacht in Europa," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 39(3), pages 361-403.
    4. Bastos, Amélia & Casaca, Sara F. & Nunes, Francisco & Pereirinha, José, 2009. "Women and poverty: A gender-sensitive approach," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 764-778, October.
    5. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2008. "Generational effects and gender height dimorphism in contemporary Spain," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 1-18, March.

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