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A Dynamic Operationalization of Sen’s Capability Approach

Author

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  • Marco Grasso

    () (University of Milan-Bicocca)

Abstract

The limits of the utilitarian approach have led to a search for different notions of welfare. The income approach to well-being, in fact, doesn’t account for the diversity in human beings and for the heterogeneities of contingent circumstances. Amartya Sen, looking for broader notions of well-being, has developed an approach focused on the freedom of individuals to pursue their own project of life: the capability approach. The main purpose of the paper is to explore the possibility of using system dynamics to operationalize Sen’s framework. First of all we address the methodological issues that have to be considered in order to operationalize the capability approach in a dynamic framework. Then we investigate the architecture of the three-functionings model we devised to represent human well-being, as intended in the capability approach. Furthermore, we analyze in depth the structure of a particular functioning, and consider some simulations for the selected functioning and for the whole model over time. Finally, the concluding remarks suggest some indications about the use of system dynamics in order to operationalize the capability approach, and consider the main findings derived from the simulations carried out.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Grasso, 2002. "A Dynamic Operationalization of Sen’s Capability Approach," Working Papers 59, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2002.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:59
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    File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper59.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Amartya Sen, 1997. "Inequality, Unemployment and Contemporary Europe," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ortrud Lessmann, 2009. "Conditions of Life, Functionings and Capability: Similarities, Differences and Complementary Features," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 279-298.
    2. Jürgen Volkert & Friedrich Schneider, 2011. "The Application of the Capability Approach to High-Income OECD Countries: A Preliminary Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 3364, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Leßmann, Ortrud, 2011. "Empirische Studien zum Capability Ansatz auf der Grundlage von Befragungen: Ein Überblick," UFZ Discussion Papers 4/2011, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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