IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/jdevst/v41y2005i8p1339-1368.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Sen's capability approach and the many spaces of human well-being

Author

Listed:
  • David Clark

Abstract

Following Amartya Sen, this paper contends that the capability approach provides a better framework for thinking about human well-being and development than more traditional approaches which typically focus on utility or resources. This is illustrated by drawing on the results of a survey which investigated how ordinary people in South Africa view human well-being (a 'good' form of life). However, the results of this exercise indicate that the capability approach overlaps with both utility (happiness, pleasure, etc) and resource-based concepts of well-being. The distinctions between commodities (and their characteristics), human functioning and utility is less robust than Sen implies. In particular, the capability approach needs to make more space for the role of utility (defined broadly to include all valuable mental states) and say more about the material basis of well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:41:y:2005:i:8:p:1339-1368
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380500186853
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220380500186853
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alkire, Sabina, 2005. "Valuing Freedoms: Sen's Capability Approach and Poverty Reduction," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199283316.
    2. Sen, Amartya, 1988. "The concept of development," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 9-26 Elsevier.
    3. Alkire, Sabina, 2002. "Dimensions of Human Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 181-205, February.
    4. Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2002. "Development, Common Foes and Shared Values," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 463-480.
    5. Des Gasper, 2002. "Is Sen's Capability Approach an Adequate Basis for Considering Human Development?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 435-461.
    6. repec:ems:euriss:23177 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Breman,Jan, 1996. "Footloose Labour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521568241.
    8. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Development: Which Way Now?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 742-762, December.
    9. Qizilbash, Mozaffar, 1998. "The Concept of Well-Being," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 51-73, April.
    10. Breman,Jan, 1996. "Footloose Labour," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521560832.
    11. Gasper, D.R., 2002. "Is Sen's Capability Approach an Adequate Basis for Considering Human Development," ISS Working Papers - General Series 50674, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eco:journ1:2017-05-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. DECANCQ, Koen & FLEURBAEY, Marc & SCHOKKAERT, Erik, 2014. "Inequality, income, and well-being," CORE Discussion Papers 2014018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. repec:eee:socmed:v:194:y:2017:i:c:p:128-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Adriana Cardozo & Melanie Grosse, 2009. "Pro-Poor Growth Using Non-Income Indicators: An Empirical Illustration for Colombia," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 9, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    5. Natera, Jose Miguel & Pansera, Mario, 2013. "How Innovation Systems and Development Theories complement each other," MPRA Paper 53633, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. David A. Clark, 2007. "Adaptation, Poverty and Well-Being: Some Issues and Observations with Special Reference to the Capability Approach and Development Studies," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-081, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Koen Decancq & Erik Schokkaert, 2016. "Beyond GDP: Using Equivalent Incomes to Measure Well-Being in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 21-55, March.
    8. Anderson, Bret, 2012. "Converting Asset Holdings into Livelihood: An Empirical Study on the Role of Household Agency in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1394-1406.
    9. Rapatsa Mashele, 2016. "Ubuntu and Capabilities Approach: Basic Doctrines for Calibrating Humanitarian Action," European Review of Applied Sociology, De Gruyter Open, vol. 9(12), pages 12-19, June.
    10. Van Ootegem, Luc & Spillemaeckers, Sophie, 2010. "With a focus on well-being and capabilities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 384-390, June.
    11. Tara Natarajan, 2014. "Shifting economics: fundamental questions and Amartya K. Sen’s pragmatic humanism," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 8(1), November.
    12. Megan King & Vivian Renó & Evlyn Novo, 2014. "The Concept, Dimensions and Methods of Assessment of Human Well-Being within a Socioecological Context: A Literature Review," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(3), pages 681-698, May.
    13. David A. Clark, 2005. "The Capability Approach: Its Development, Critiques and Recent Advances," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-032, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    14. David Alexander Clark, 2011. "Adaptation and development: issues, evidence and policy relevance," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 15911, GDI, The University of Manchester.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:41:y:2005:i:8:p:1339-1368. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/FJDS20 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.