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European Union Poverty Assessment: A Capability Perspective


  • Juergen Volkert


This paper addresses the European Union's (EU) conceptual shift from a narrow income poverty perspective to a multidimensional approach that has explicitly been inspired by Amartya Sen's work. I briefly describe these changes and discuss challenges for today's EU income poverty indicators. Then I develop an approach that might more adequately fulfil the tasks of an income poverty measure within the capability approach. I explain why and how the analysis should be broadened from income poverty to capability deprivation. I also evaluate the current EU framework's suitability for an analysis of 'capability deprivation' and identify capability dimensions that have not (sufficiently) been addressed by the EU. Based on initial empirical studies, it is shown that broadening the perspective to a capability concept may yield substantial value-added and new insights. Before concluding I explain how to apply the Adequate-Methods-Approach developed in this paper to capability deprivation.

Suggested Citation

  • Juergen Volkert, 2006. "European Union Poverty Assessment: A Capability Perspective," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 359-383.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:7:y:2006:i:3:p:359-383 DOI: 10.1080/14649880600815933

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bhaumik, Sumon Kumar & Gang, Ira N. & Yun, Myeong-Su, 2017. "Poverty’s Deconstruction: Beyond the Visible," GLO Discussion Paper Series 147, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Christian Arndt & Juergen Volkert, 2009. "Poverty and Wealth Reporting of the German Government: Approach, Lessons and Critique," IAW Discussion Papers 51, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
    3. Sung-Geun Kim, 2016. "What Have We Called as “Poverty”? A Multidimensional and Longitudinal Perspective," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 229-276, October.
    4. Andrea Brandolini, 2007. "On Synthetic Indices Of Multidimensional Well-Being: Health And Income Inequalities In France, Germany, Italy And The United Kingdom," CHILD Working Papers wp07_07, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.

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    Capabilities; Poverty; Amartya Sen; European Union;


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