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Freedom and achievement of well-being in the adaptive dynamics of capabilities


  • Jun Matsuyama
  • Kenji Mori


Sen's capability approach has been studied by many researchers including not only economists but also political philosophers. Almost all researchers consider capabilities as a static concept. However, D'Agata (2007) points out a need for consideration within a dynamic concept in the capability approach. D'Agata (2007) develops a model with utilization functions determined endogenously through the adaptive dynamics. Motivated by his work, we also consider the adaptive dynamics of capabilities. Our model formalized below focuses on a relationship between goods and capability for simplification. In this respect, our model seems to differ from D'Agata's one which focuses an evolution of utilization functions themselves. However, we assume implicitly that the evolution of capabilities depends on that of utilization functions. By applying Rosenbaum's formula (Rosenbaum, 2000; D'Agata, 2009a) to the dynamic context, to define well-being freedom, we show the existence of a distribution of goods equalizing well-being freedom of each individual, total amount of goods being fixed. Furthermore, the value of freedom is non-decreasing as the total amount of goods increases. On the other hand, by means of counter examples, we exemplify that one's well-being achievement, defined as in the dynamic context, can decrease even if he/she is given more (or equal) goods. In terms of the two-way evaluation of well-being a la Sen, the fact that a distribution of goods can negatively affect some individuals characterizes a normative quality of the adaptive process. Our model shows that economic distributive measures may have a limitation in improving individuals' well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Jun Matsuyama & Kenji Mori, 2010. "Freedom and achievement of well-being in the adaptive dynamics of capabilities," TERG Discussion Papers 252, Graduate School of Economics and Management, Tohoku University.
  • Handle: RePEc:toh:tergaa:252

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    References listed on IDEAS

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