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Capability, Opportunity, Outcome - - And Equality

Listed author(s):
  • Kanbur, Ravi

Two fundamental attributes of the capability approach are (i) a broadening of the evaluation space from the instrumental means such as income to the intrinsic ends of beings and doings, or functionings; and (ii) the further broadening of evaluation from achievement of ends to opportunity to achieve those ends—from functionings to capabilities. This paper accepts the first broadening but presents a critique of the opportunity perspective in capability theory, using as a platform a critique of recent work on inequality of opportunity. The paper argues that similar critiques of concept and empirical application apply to capability analysis as an analysis and an evaluation of opportunity. Perhaps for this reason, much of the practical implementation of capability theory ends up by in fact focusing only on outcomes in functionings space, with only a loose link to opportunity.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/250027
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Paper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 250027.

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Date of creation: Feb 2016
Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:250027
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  1. Sabina Alkire, James E. Foster, Suman Seth, Maria Emma Santos, Jose M. Roche and Paola Ballon, 2015. "Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis: Chapter 9 - Distribution and Dynamics," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp090_ch9.pdf, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  2. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2007. "Inequality Of Opportunity In Brazil," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 585-618, December.
  3. Ricardo Paes de Barros & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Jose R. Molinas Vega & Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi, 2009. "Measuring Inequality of Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2580, September.
  4. repec:idb:idbbks:361 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Sabina Alkire, James E. Foster, Suman Seth, Maria Emma Santos, Jose M. Roche and Paola Ballon, 2015. "Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis: Chapter 7 - Data and Analysis," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp088_ch7.pdf, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  6. Ravi Kanbur & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2016. "Dynastic inequality, mobility and equality of opportunity," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(4), pages 419-434, December.
  7. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity: Theory And An Application To Latin America," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 622-657, December.
  8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/1552 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. repec:idb:brikps:60098 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Upper bounds of inequality of opportunity: theory and evidence for Germany and the US," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 73-99, June.
  11. John E. Roemer, 2002. "Equality of opportunity: A progress report," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(2), pages 455-471.
  12. Hufe, Paul & Peichl, Andreas & Roemer, John & Ungerer, Martin, 2015. "Inequality of income acquisition: The role of childhood circumstances," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-084, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  13. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James & Seth, Suman & Santos, Maria Emma & Roche, Jose Manuel & Ballon, Paola, 2015. "Multidimensional Poverty Measurement and Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199689491.
  14. Prasanta K. PATTANAIK & Yongsheng XU, 1990. "On Ranking Opportunity Sets in Terms of Freedom of Choice," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1990036, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  15. Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement of Inequality of Inequality of Opportunity: Theory and an Application to Latin America," Post-Print halshs-00754503, HAL.
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