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Adaptation, Poverty and Well-Being: Some Issues and Observations with Special Reference to the Capability Approach and Development Studies

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  • David A. Clark
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    Abstract

    The idea that people adapt to poverty and deprivation by suppressing their wants, hopes and aspirations has gained a lot of currency in development ethics.� While the 'adaptation problem' is often cited as one of the primary arguments for abandoning utility based concepts of well-being in favour of the capability approach, it also has serious implications for the capability approach and development studies generally.� These implications are not normally discussed or acknowledged in the well-being and development literature.� Fortunately for development studies, the available evidence suggests that adaptation is not ubiquitous.� Moreover, where adaptation occurs, there is some evidence to suggest that it takes a different - and far less damaging - form than the type discussed in work on human well-being and development.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number GPRG-WPS-081.

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    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:gprg-wps-081

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    Keywords: Adaptation; Aspirations; Capability; Democracy and Participation; Human Values; Paternalism; Poverty and Human Development; Utility and Well-Being;

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    1. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & John Knight, 2006. "Subjective well-being poverty vs. Income poverty and capabilities poverty?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1224.
    2. David Clark & Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2008. "Core Poverty, Vagueness and Adaptation: A New Methodology and Some Results for South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 519-544.
    3. 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.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    5. David Clark, 2005. "Sen's capability approach and the many spaces of human well-being," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(8), pages 1339-1368.
    6. Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199245796, October.
    7. Sugden, Robert, 2006. "What We Desire, What We Have Reason to Desire, Whatever We Might Desire: Mill and Sen on the Value of Opportunity," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 33-51, March.
    8. Tania Burchardt, 2005. "Are One Man’s Rags Another Man’s Riches? Identifying Adaptive Expectations using Panel Data," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 57-102, October.
    9. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
    10. Miriam Teschl & Flavio Comim, 2005. "Adaptive Preferences and Capabilities: Some Preliminary Conceptual Explorations," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 229-247.
    11. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    12. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    13. 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.
    14. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 1997. "A weakness of the capability approach with respect to gender justice," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 251-262.
    15. David Clark, 2003. "Concepts and Perceptions of Human Well-being: Some Evidence from South Africa," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 173-196.
    16. Gasper, D.R., 2002. "Is Sen's capability approach an adequate basis for considering human development?," ISS Working Papers - General Series, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague 360, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    17. Severine Deneulin, 2005. "Promoting Human Freedoms under Conditions of Inequalities: a procedural framework," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 75-95.
    18. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 2006. "Capability, Happiness and Adaptation in Sen and J. S. Mill," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 20-32, March.
    19. Des Gasper, 2002. "Is Sen's Capability Approach an Adequate Basis for Considering Human Development?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 435-461.
    20. Ingrid Robeyns, 2007. "Bibliography on the Capability Approach, 2006-2007," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 481-486.
    21. Martha Nussbaum, 2006. "Education and Democratic Citizenship: Capabilities and Quality Education," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 385-395.
    22. Easterlin, Richard A., 2005. "A puzzle for adaptive theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 513-521, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Laura Camfield & Monica Guillen-Royo & Jackeline Velazco, 2010. "Does Needs Satisfaction Matter for Psychological and Subjective Wellbeing in Developing Countries: A Mixed-Methods Illustration from Bangladesh and Thailand," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 497-516, August.
    2. Laura Camfield, 2012. "Resilience and Well-being Among Urban Ethiopian Children: What Role Do Social Resources and Competencies Play?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 107(3), pages 393-410, July.
    3. Laura Camfield & Awae Masae & J. McGregor & Buapun Promphaking, 2013. "Cultures of Aspiration and Poverty? Aspirational Inequalities in Northeast and Southern Thailand," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 1049-1072, December.

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