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Applying the Capability Approach Empirically: An Overview with Special Attention to Labor

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  • Lessmann, Ortrud

Abstract

Operationalizing the capability approach (CA) is difficult due to the conceptual challenges it poses: its multidimensionality and the role it assigns to freedom of choice for human wellbeing. Therefore the operationalizability of the CA has been questioned. Despite this, a lot of empirical studies apply the CA in various contexts and on a multitude of issues. This paper discusses the challenges in operationalizing the approach and reports on the methods used to meet them. Special attention is paid to studies of labor-related issues. It turns out that studies of labor-related issues have developed new methods for operationalizing the CA using available data. Generating primary data is another way to meet the challenge of modeling freedom of choice, the core concept of the CA, but has been used less with respect of labor-related issues. After discussing the challenges of operationalizing the CA, the paper briefly addresses the relation between labor and wellbeing in economic theory. Then one section reviews empirical studies based on available data and the methods they use and the next one primary studies of the CA. The last section concludes.

Suggested Citation

  • Lessmann, Ortrud, 2012. "Applying the Capability Approach Empirically: An Overview with Special Attention to Labor," management revue - Socio-Economic Studies, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, vol. 23(2), pages 98-118.
  • Handle: RePEc:nms:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2012_2_lessmann
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    File URL: https://www.nomos-elibrary.de/10.5771/0935-9915-2012-2-98
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    Cited by:

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    2. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Job Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being in Australia – A Capability Approach Perspective," Ruhr Economic Papers 0388, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. César González-Cantón & Sonia Boulos & Pablo Sánchez-Garrido, 2019. "Exploring the Link Between Human Rights, the Capability Approach and Corporate Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 865-879, December.
    4. Marina Checa-Olivas & Bladimir de la Hoz-Rosales & Rafael Cano-Guervos, 2021. "The Impact of Employment Quality and Housing Quality on Human Development in the European Union," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(2), pages 1-12, January.
    5. repec:zbw:rwirep:0388 is not listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    capability approach; operationalization; empirical studies; labor market;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B59 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Other
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General

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