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The measurement of capabilities

Author

Listed:
  • Paul Anand

    () (Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University)

  • Cristina Santos

    () (Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University)

  • Ron Smith

    () (School of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics, Birkbeck College, University of London)

Abstract

It has often been claimed that it is impossible to measure human capabilities but within the methodological conventions of household survey design, we show that some non- financial capability indicators do already exist and we demonstrate how similar indicators, covering a wide range of life domains, can be constructed. This chapter draws on a continuing research project which contributes to the operationalisation of the capabilities approach by devising over 60 capability indicators which can be used to extend coverage of indices such as HDI, illustrating different ways in which such indicators may be analysed, and discussing some of the associated methodological issues that have emerged in the process. Based on usable observations from a national UK sample of 1000 adults, we use latent class analysis to identify an impoverished group of respondents with low capabilities across the board, build models of experienced violence and subjective wellbeing as a function of experienced and anticipated violence, and explore the relationship between capability indicators and subjective wellbeing. Substantive findings include: the identification of a group with low all round capabilities associated with low health and low income; evidence that fear of future violence can be a more significant determinant of subjective wellbeing than past experience of violence; and evidence which supports the view that a large diverse set of non-financial dimensions of capability have a detectable impact on subjective wellbeing. We conclude by discussing some of the econometric issues that have emerged in the course of this work.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Anand & Cristina Santos & Ron Smith, 2007. "The measurement of capabilities," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 67, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:opn:wpaper:67
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Binder & Alex Coad, 2011. "Disentangling the Circularity in Sen’s Capability Approach: An Analysis of the Co-Evolution of Functioning Achievement and Resources," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 103(3), pages 327-355, September.
    2. John Dagsvik, 2013. "Making Sen’s capability approach operational: a random scale framework," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 75-105, January.
    3. Vizard, Polly, 2010. "Developing and agreeing a capability list in the British context: what can be learnt from social survey data on ‘rights’?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 43866, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Kamil Faisal & Ahmed Shaker, 2017. "An Investigation of GIS Overlay and PCA Techniques for Urban Environmental Quality Assessment: A Case Study in Toronto, Ontario, Canada," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-25, March.
    5. 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.
    6. Anand, Paul & Roope, Laurence & Peichl, Andreas, 2016. "Wellbeing Evidence for the Assessment of Progress," IZA Discussion Papers 9840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Anand, Paul & Lea, Stephen, 2011. "The psychology and behavioural economics of poverty," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 284-293, March.
    8. Dagsvik John K., 2010. "Making Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach Operational: A Random Scale Framework for Empirical Modeling," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201005, University of Turin.
    9. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel, 2013. "Multidimensional Well‐Being at the Top: Evidence for Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34, pages 355-371, September.
    10. Paul Anand & Laurence Roope, 2016. "The development and happiness of very young children," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(4), pages 825-851, December.
    11. repec:wfo:wstudy:47154 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Canoy, Marcel & Lerais, Frédéric & Schokkaert, Erik, 2010. "Applying the capability approach to policy-making: The impact assessment of the EU-proposal on organ donation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 391-399, June.
    13. Martin Binder, 2014. "Subjective Well-Being Capabilities: Bridging the Gap Between the Capability Approach and Subjective Well-Being Research," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 1197-1217, October.
    14. Leßmann, Ortrud & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2012. "Re-conceptualising sustainable development on the basis of the capability approach: A model and its difficulties," UFZ Discussion Papers 03/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    15. Karl Aiginger, 2016. "New Dynamics for Europe: Reaping the Benefits of Socio-ecological Transition. Synthesis Report Part I," WWWforEurope Deliverables series 11, WWWforEurope.
    16. Annie Austin, 2016. "On Well-Being and Public Policy: Are We Capable of Questioning the Hegemony of Happiness?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 123-138, May.
    17. DECANCQ, Koen & SCHOKKAERT, Eric & ZULUAGA, Bianca, 2016. "Implementing the Capability Approach with Respect for Individual Valuations : An Illustration with Colombian Data," CORE Discussion Papers 2016036, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    18. John K. Dagsvik, 2012. "Making Sen's capability approach operational. A random scale framework," Discussion Papers 710, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    19. 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).
    20. Leßmann, Ortrud, 2012. "Indikatoren im Capability-Ansatz und der Bezug zur Nachhaltigkeit: Welchen Beitrag kann der CA leisten?," UFZ Discussion Papers 16/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    21. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Does Capability Deprivation Hurt? – Evidence from German Panel Data," Ruhr Economic Papers 0359, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    22. Suppa, Nicolai, 2012. "Does Capability Deprivation Hurt? – Evidence from German Panel Data," Ruhr Economic Papers 359, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    23. Polly Vizard, 2010. "Developing and agreeing a capability list in the British context: What can be learnt from social survey data on ‘rights’?," CASE Papers case142, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    24. Claudia Kettner & Angela Köppl & Sigrid Stagl, 2014. "Towards an operational measurement of socio-ecological performance," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 52, WWWforEurope.
    25. repec:zbw:rwirep:0359 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    capabilities; measurement; performance indicators; human development; welfare; economic statistics; freedom; happiness; subjective wellbeing; personality; gender differences; violence; causality; poverty; health; latent class analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • C80 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - General

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