IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Developing a capability list: final recommendations of the equalities review steering group on measurement


  • Vizard, Polly
  • Burchardt, Tania


In October 2007, a unified Commission on Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will begin operation in Britain. The Commission will have responsibility for monitoring and promoting human rights and equality on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, transgender status, and religion/belief. As a precursor to the Commission, the Prime Minister established the Equalities Review, an independent, high-level, investigation of the causes of persistent inequality and disadvantage in British society. Its final report, Fairness and Freedom, in February 2007 adopted the capability approach as its measurement framework and recommended that all public bodies use the framework to “agree priorities, set targets, and evaluate progress towards equality” (p.110). In particular, the Review recommended that the framework be used by the CEHR to inform its regular ‘state of the nation’ report. This paper, and its companion, Definition of equality and framework for measurement: Final Recommendations of the Equalities Review Steering Group on Measurement (CASEpaper 120) were prepared as background papers to assist in the development of the measurement framework for the Equalities Review. The companion paper discusses the key challenges involved in translating capability theory into a practical measurement tool in the context of measuring inequality in Britain in the 21st century. This includes the definition of equality, a procedure for generating and revising a list of central and valuable capabilities, a measurement framework for monitoring trends in inequality, exploring the causes of inequality, and identifying possible policy interventions, and, finally, the types of information and analysis which are required. The current paper focuses in more detail on the need for a list of central and valuable capabilities in terms of which inequality in Britain can be conceptualised and appraised (a ‘capability list’). The paper sets out a methodological framework for developing a capability list involving (1) derivation of a core capability list from the international human rights framework; (2) supplementation and refinement of the core list through democratic deliberation and debate. As part of the process of developing a capability list, the Equalities Review commissioned Ipsos-MORI to undertake a deliberative consultation on the development of a capability list with the general public and individuals and groups at risk of discrimination and disadvantage. The paper discusses the results of the deliberative consultation and recommends a capability list based on ten domains of central and valuable capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Vizard, Polly & Burchardt, Tania, 2007. "Developing a capability list: final recommendations of the equalities review steering group on measurement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6217, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6217

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sen, Amartya, 1997. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292975.
    2. Ingrid Robeyns, 2003. "Sen'S Capability Approach And Gender Inequality: Selecting Relevant Capabilities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2-3), pages 61-92.
    3. Martha Nussbaum, 2004. "Beyond the social contract: capabilities and global justice. an Olaf Palme lecture, delivered in Oxford on 19 June 2003," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(1), pages 3-18.
    4. repec:cep:sticas:/120 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Burchardt, Tania & Vizard, Polly, 2007. "Definition of equality and framework for measurement: final recommendations of the equalities review steering group on measurement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 6218, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Greco, Giulia & Skordis-Worrall, Jolene & Mkandawire, Bryan & Mills, Anne, 2015. "What is a good life? Selecting capabilities to assess women's quality of life in rural Malawi," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 69-78.

    More about this item


    capability approach; capability list; human rights;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:6217. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.