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Sen's Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-critiques

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  • Stephen Devereux

Abstract

Twenty years after Poverty and Famines elaborated the entitlement approach as an innovative and holistic approach to famine analysis, debates about some of its fundamental assertions remain unresolved. This paper examines four limitations acknowledged by Sen himself: starvation by choice, disease-driven rather than starvation-driven mortality, ambiguities in entitlement specification and extra-legal entitlement transfers. It concludes that Sen's approach is significantly weakened, both conceptually and empirically, by its methodological individualism and by its privileging of economic aspects of famine above sociopolitical determinants. A complementary analysis is required, one that recognizes the importance of non-market institutions in determining entitlements, famine as social process and epidemiological crisis, and violations of entitlement rules in the complex emergencies that typify most contemporary famines.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Devereux, 2001. "Sen's Entitlement Approach: Critiques and Counter-critiques," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 245-263.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:29:y:2001:i:3:p:245-263 DOI: 10.1080/13600810120088859
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    1. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 412-427.
    2. Lee, Lung-fei & Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Pitt, Mark M., 1997. "The effects of improved nutrition, sanitation, and water quality on child health in high-mortality populations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 209-235, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Plümper, Thomas & Neumayer, Eric, 2009. "Famine Mortality, Rational Political Inactivity, and International Food Aid," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 50-61, January.
    2. Rashid, Shahidur & Gulati, Ashok & Cummings, Jr., Ralph, 2008. "Grain marketing parastatals in Asia: Why do they have to change now?," IFPRI book chapters,in: Rashid, Shahidur & Gulati, Ashok & Cummings, Jr., Ralph (ed.), From parastatals to private trade: Lessons from Asian agriculture, chapter 2, pages 10-47 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. repec:eee:agisys:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:133-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mamoon, Dawood & Ijaz, Kinza, 2017. "How Climate Change and Agriculture Fares with Food Security in Pakistan?," MPRA Paper 81346, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Gasper, D.R., 2007. "Problem- and policy-analysis for human development," ISS Working Papers - General Series 18743, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    6. Moon, Wanki, 2011. "Is agriculture compatible with free trade?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 13-24.
    7. Antonio Ioris & Carlos Irigaray & Pierre Girard, 2014. "Institutional responses to climate change: opportunities and barriers for adaptation in the Pantanal and the Upper Paraguay River Basin," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 139-151, November.
    8. Muñiz Castillo, M.R. & Gasper, D.R., 2011. "Human autonomy effectiveness and development projects," ISS Working Papers - General Series 22692, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    9. Rashid, Shahidur & Gulati, Ashok & Mahendra Dev, S., 2008. "Parastatals and food policies: The Indian case," IFPRI book chapters,in: Rashid, Shahidur & Gulati, Ashok & Cummings, Jr., Ralph (ed.), From parastatals to private trade: Lessons from Asian agriculture, chapter 3, pages 51-76 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Ergler, Christina R. & Sakdapolrak, Patrick & Bohle, Hans-Georg & Kearns, Robin A., 2011. "Entitlements to health care: Why is there a preference for private facilities among poorer residents of Chennai, India?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 327-337.
    11. Lopamudra Banerjee, 2016. "Catastrophes And Consumption Failure," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(01), pages 1-25, March.
    12. repec:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:78-86 is not listed on IDEAS

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