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

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  • Lessmann, Ortrud
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    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.

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    Article provided by Rainer Hampp Verlag in its journal Management Revue - The international Review of Management Studies.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 98-118

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    Handle: RePEc:rai:mamere:1861-9908_mrev_2012_2_lessmann
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    Order Information: Postal: Rainer Hampp Verlag, Journals, Vorderer Lech 35, 86150 Augsburg, Germany. A subscripton is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available at
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