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The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances

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  • David A. Clark
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    Abstract

    Over the last decade Amartya`s Sen`s Capability Approach (CA) has emerged as the leading alternative to standard economic frameworks for thinking about poverty, inequality and human development generally. In countless articles and several books that tackle a range of economic, social and ethical questions (beginning with the Tanner Lecture `Equality of What?` delivered at Stanford University in 1979), Professor Sen has developed, refined and defended a framework that is directly concerned with human capabillity and freedom (e.g. Sen, 1980; 1984; 1985; 1987; 1992; 1999). From the outset Sen acknowledged strong connections with Adam Smith`s (1776) analysis of `necessities` and living conditions and Karl Marx`s (1844) concern with human freedom and emancipation. Later Sen (1993, p. 46) recognised that `the most powerful conceptual connections` (which he initially failed to appreciate) relate to Aristotle`s theory of `political distribution` and his analysis of eudaimonia - `human flourishing` (see Nussbaum, 1988; 1990).

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    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number GPRG-WPS-032.

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    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:gprg-wps-032

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    1. Streeten, Paul, 1994. "Human Development: Means and Ends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 232-37, May.
    2. Kelvin Jasek-Rysdahl, 2001. "Applying Sen's Capabilities Framework to Neighborhoods: Using Local Asset Maps to Deepen Our Understanding of Well-being," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(3), pages 313-329.
    3. Sabina Alkire & Rufus Black, 1997. "A practical reasoning theory of development ethhics: furthering the capabilities approach," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 263-279.
    4. Mozaffar Qizilbash & David Clark, 2005. "The Capability Approach and Fuzzy Poverty Measures: An Application to the South African Context," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 103-139, October.
    5. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 1998. "The Concept of Well-Being," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 51-73, April.
    6. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, 2003. "The Human Development Paradigm: Operationalizing Sen'S Ideas On Capabilities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 301-317.
    7. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 2006. "Capability, Happiness and Adaptation in Sen and J. S. Mill," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 20-32, March.
    8. Martha Nussbaum, 2005. "Women's Bodies: Violence, Security, Capabilities," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 167-183.
    9. David Clark, 2005. "Sen's capability approach and the many spaces of human well-being," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(8), pages 1339-1368.
    10. Klasen, Stephan, 2000. "Measuring Poverty and Deprivation in South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 33-58, March.
    11. Stephan Klasen, 1997. "Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in South Africa: An Analysis of the 1993 SALDRU Survey," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 51-94, July.
    12. Ingrid Robeyns, 2003. "Sen'S Capability Approach And Gender Inequality: Selecting Relevant Capabilities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 61-92.
    13. Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245796, October.
    14. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Development: Which Way Now?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 742-62, December.
    15. Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi, 1997. "Poverty and its many dimensions: The role of income as an indicator," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 345-360.
    16. Martha Nussbaum, 2003. "Capabilities As Fundamental Entitlements: Sen And Social Justice," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 33-59.
    17. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 1996. "Capabilities, well-being and human development: A survey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 143-162.
    18. Amartya Sen, 2004. "Capabilities, Lists, And Public Reason: Continuing The Conversation," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 77-80.
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