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Capabilities in Place: Locating Poverty and Affluence in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)


  • Tom De Herdt
  • Wim Marivoet


We argue that the capability approach can be very helpful in exploring the links between poverty and place, thereby providing a more accurate understanding of poverty processes. We demonstrate how Sen's list of 'conversion factors' allows one to incorporate but also to go beyond the usual description of the connection between place and well-being in terms of physical and social infrastructure. More in particular, we give emphasis on the role of place in the conversion of doings into earnings. We then apply the theoretical argument to a representative sample of households in Kinshasa. Although monetary indicators of well-being and poverty indicate a downward levelling of different regions of the capital city that have been historically quite different, an exploration of the different sources of parametric variation suggests that place does continue to have a significant impact on well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom De Herdt & Wim Marivoet, 2011. "Capabilities in Place: Locating Poverty and Affluence in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 235-256.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:12:y:2011:i:2:p:235-256 DOI: 10.1080/19452829.2011.571084

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, 2003. "The Human Development Paradigm: Operationalizing Sen'S Ideas On Capabilities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 301-317.
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