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Freedom and achievement of well-being in the adaptive dynamics of capabilities

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  • Jun Matsuyama
  • Kenji Mori
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    Abstract

    Sen's capability approach has been studied by many researchers including not only economists but also political philosophers. Almost all researchers consider capabilities as a static concept. However, D'Agata (2007) points out a need for consideration within a dynamic concept in the capability approach. D'Agata (2007) develops a model with utilization functions determined endogenously through the adaptive dynamics. Motivated by his work, we also consider the adaptive dynamics of capabilities. Our model formalized below focuses on a relationship between goods and capability for simplification. In this respect, our model seems to differ from D'Agata's one which focuses an evolution of utilization functions themselves. However, we assume implicitly that the evolution of capabilities depends on that of utilization functions. By applying Rosenbaum's formula (Rosenbaum, 2000; D'Agata, 2009a) to the dynamic context, to define well-being freedom, we show the existence of a distribution of goods equalizing well-being freedom of each individual, total amount of goods being fixed. Furthermore, the value of freedom is non-decreasing as the total amount of goods increases. On the other hand, by means of counter examples, we exemplify that one's well-being achievement, defined as in the dynamic context, can decrease even if he/she is given more (or equal) goods. In terms of the two-way evaluation of well-being a la Sen, the fact that a distribution of goods can negatively affect some individuals characterizes a normative quality of the adaptive process. Our model shows that economic distributive measures may have a limitation in improving individuals' well-being.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10097/55399
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    File URL: http://ir.library.tohoku.ac.jp/re/bitstream/10097/55399/1/terg252.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University in its series TERG Discussion Papers with number 252.

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    Length: 19 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:toh:tergaa:252

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    References

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    1. Prasanta Pattanaik & Yongsheng Xu, 1998. "On Preference and Freedom," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 173-198, April.
    2. Martin van Hees, 1998. "On the Analysis of Negative Freedom," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 175-197, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Day, Richard H & Kennedy, Peter E, 1970. "Recursive Decision Systems: An Existence Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(5), pages 666-81, September.
    5. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Welfare, preference and freedom," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 15-29, October.
    6. Prasanta K. PATTANAIK & Yongsheng XU, 1990. "On Ranking Opportunity Sets in Terms of Freedom of Choice," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1990036, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    7. Bossert Walter & Pattanaik Prasanta K. & Xu Yongsheng, 1994. "Ranking Opportunity Sets: An Axiomatic Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 326-345, August.
    8. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
    9. Wulf Gaertner & Yongsheng Xu, 2008. "A new class of measures of the standard of living based on functionings," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 201-215, May.
    10. Pattanaik, Prasanta K. & Xu, Yongsheng, 2000. "On Ranking Opportunity Sets in Economic Environments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 48-71, July.
    11. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "A New View of Technological Change," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(315), pages 573-78, September.
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