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Sen's Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-critiques

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  • Stephen Devereux
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    Abstract

    Twenty years after Poverty and Famines elaborated the entitlement approach as an innovative and holistic approach to famine analysis, debates about some of its fundamental assertions remain unresolved. This paper examines four limitations acknowledged by Sen himself: starvation by choice, disease-driven rather than starvation-driven mortality, ambiguities in entitlement specification and extra-legal entitlement transfers. It concludes that Sen's approach is significantly weakened, both conceptually and empirically, by its methodological individualism and by its privileging of economic aspects of famine above sociopolitical determinants. A complementary analysis is required, one that recognizes the importance of non-market institutions in determining entitlements, famine as social process and epidemiological crisis, and violations of entitlement rules in the complex emergencies that typify most contemporary famines.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Oxford Development Studies.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 245-263

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:29:y:2001:i:3:p:245-263

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    Cited by:
    1. Gasper, D.R., 2007. "Problem- and policy-analysis for human development: Sen in the light of Dewey, Myrdal, Streeten, Stretton and Haq," ISS Working Papers - General Series 18743, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    2. Muñiz Castillo, M.R. & Gasper, D.R., 2011. "Human autonomy effectiveness and development projects," ISS Working Papers - General Series 519, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    3. Plümper, Thomas & Neumayer, Eric, 2009. "Famine Mortality, Rational Political Inactivity, and International Food Aid," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 50-61, January.
    4. Thomas Plümper & Eric Neumayer, 2007. "Famine mortality, rational political inactivity, and international food aid," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25169, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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