The capability dilemma in operational poverty assessment
AbstractThis paper compares the standard economic welfare approach to poverty measurement to the empirical approaches proposed in the capability literature under the special focus of their suitability for operational poverty assessment, i.e. targeting and outreach evaluation. We question whether the measurement of per capita daily expenditures compared with a monetary poverty line justifiably remains the most widely used approach regarding poverty assessment. Its underlying value judgments and unsatisfactory assumptions differ considerably from those of the capability concept of poverty but the two approaches can be linked and critically compared with respect to the role of income, the conceptualisation of absolute poverty and the development of operational tools. We argue that despite the progress made in operationalizing the capability approach, there remain serious challenges when focussing on targeting and outreach evaluation and propose three alternative solutions for dealing with this capability dilemma in practice.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research in its series Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers with number 159.
Date of creation: 19 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Platz des Göttinger Sieben 3, 37073 Göttingen
Phone: 0049-551-39 81 72
Fax: 0049-551-39 81 73
Web page: http://www.iai.wiwi.uni-goettingen.de
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Udaya Wagle, 2005. "Multidimensional Poverty Measurement with Economic Well-being, Capability, and Social Inclusion: A Case from Kathmandu, Nepal," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 301-328.
- Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2003. "On the utility consistency of poverty lines," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3157, The World Bank.
- Alkire, Sabina, 2002.
"Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction,"
Oxford University Press, number 9780199245796.
- Alkire, Sabina, 2005. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199283316.
- Atkinson, A B, 1987. "On the Measurement of Poverty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 749-64, July.
- Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
- Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Dimensions of Human Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 181-205, February.
- Tarp, Finn, et al, 2002.
"The Robustness of Poverty Profiles Reconsidered,"
Economic Development and Cultural Change,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 77-108, October.
- Tarp, Finn & Simler, Kenneth & Matusse, Cristina & Heltberg, Rasmus & Dava, Gabriel, 2002. "The robustness of poverty profiles reconsidered," FCND discussion papers 124, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Tarp, Finn & Simler, Kenneth & Matusse, Cristina & Heltberg, Rasmus & Dava, Gabriel, 2002. "The robustness of poverty profiles reconsidered," FCND briefs 124, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Streeten, Paul & Burki, Shahid Javed, 1978. "Basic needs: Some issues," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 411-421, March.
- Paul Anand & Graham Hunter & Ron Smith, 2005.
"Capabilities and Well-Being: Evidence Based on the Sen–Nussbaum Approach to Welfare,"
Social Indicators Research,
Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 9-55, October.
- Paul Anand & Graham Hunter & Ron Smith, 2004. "Capabilities and Wellbeing: Evidence Based on the Sen-Nussbaum Approach to Welfare," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 47, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
- Hicks, Norman & Streeten, Paul, 1979. "Indicators of development: The search for a basic needs yardstick," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 567-580, June.
- Hicks, Norman L., 1979. "Growth vs basic needs: Is there a trade-off?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(11-12), pages 985-994.
- Ravallion, M., 1998. "Poverty Lines in Theory and Practice," Papers 133, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
- Mozaffar Qizilbash & David Clark, 2005. "The Capability Approach and Fuzzy Poverty Measures: An Application to the South African Context," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 103-139, October.
- Martin Ravallion & Michael Lokshin, 2006. "Testing Poverty Lines," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(3), pages 399-421, 09.
- Ravallion, M., 1992. "Poverty Comparisons - A Guide to Concepts and Methods," Papers 88, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
- Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
- Miguel Szekely & Nora Lustig & Martin Cumpa & Jose Antonio Mejia, 2004.
"Do we know how much poverty there is?,"
Oxford Development Studies,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 523-558.
- Glewwe, Paul & van der Gaag, Jacques, 1990. "Identifying the poor in developing countries: Do different definitions matter?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 803-814, June.
- Sabates, Ricardo & Gould, Brian W. & Villarreal, Hector J., 2001. "Household composition and food expenditures: a cross-country comparison," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 571-586, December.
- François Bourguignon & Satya Chakravarty, 2003.
"The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty,"
Journal of Economic Inequality,
Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 25-49, April.
- Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1986. "A methodology for measuring food poverty applied to Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 59-74, November.
- Blackwood, D. L. & Lynch, R. G., 1994. "The measurement of inequality and poverty: A policy maker's guide to the literature," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 567-578, April.
- Atkinson, Anthony B, 2001. "The Strange Disappearance of Welfare Economics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2-3), pages 193-206.
- Goedhart, T. & Halberstadt, V. & Praag, B.M.S. van & Kapteyn, A.J., 1977. "The poverty line: Concept and measurement," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-361898, Tilburg University.
- Anand, Paul & van Hees, Martin, 2006. "Capabilities and achievements: An empirical study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 268-284, April.
- Ingrid Robeyns, 2003. "Sen'S Capability Approach And Gender Inequality: Selecting Relevant Capabilities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 61-92.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sabine Jaep).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.