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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 Clark

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 favor 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.

Suggested Citation

  • David Clark, 2009. "Adaptation, Poverty and Well-Being: Some Issues and Observations with Special Reference to the Capability Approach and Development Studies," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 21-42.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:10:y:2009:i:1:p:21-42
    DOI: 10.1080/14649880802675051
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D’Ambrosio & Simone Ghislandi, 2016. "Adaptation to Poverty in Long-Run Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 591-600, July.
    2. Ambra Poggi, 2012. "Public jobs and capabilities: the case of the Italian waste sector," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 127, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    3. Patricio S. Dalton & Sayantan Ghosal & Anandi Mani, 2016. "Poverty and Aspirations Failure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 165-188, February.
    4. Tim Forsyth, 2015. "Ecological Functions and Functionings: Towards a Senian Analysis of Ecosystem Services," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(2), pages 225-246, March.
    5. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D’Ambrosio & Simone Ghislandi, 2013. "Poverty and Well-Being: Panel Evidence from Germany," Working Papers 291, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Suppa, Nicolai, 2012. "Does Capability Deprivation Hurt? – Evidence from German Panel Data," Ruhr Economic Papers 359, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Simone Ghislandi, 2014. "Adaptation to Poverty in Long-Run Panel Data," Working Papers halshs-00925542, HAL.
    8. repec:zbw:rwirep:0359 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Simone Ghislandi, 2013. "Poverty and Well-Being: Panel Evidence from Germany," Working Papers hal-00814659, HAL.
    10. Fu, Mengzhu & Exeter, Daniel J. & Anderson, Anneka, 2015. "“So, is that your ‘relative’ or mine?” A political-ecological critique of census-based area deprivation indices," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 27-36.
    11. Solava Ibrahim, 2011. "Poverty, aspirations and wellbeing: afraid to aspire and unable to reach a better life – voices from Egypt," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 14111, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    12. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Does Capability Deprivation Hurt? – Evidence from German Panel Data," Ruhr Economic Papers 0359, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    13. Victor, Bart & Fischer, Edward F. & Cooil, Bruce & Vergara, Alfredo & Mukolo, Abraham & Blevins, Meridith, 2013. "Frustrated Freedom: The Effects of Agency and Wealth on Wellbeing in Rural Mozambique," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 30-41.

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