Measuring capabilities with random scale models. Women’s freedom of movement
Sen’s capability approach distinguishes between what people are free to do and to be (their ‘capabilities’) and what they do and who they are (their ‘functionings’). In the capability approach,individuals’ well-being is evaluated not only in terms of achieved functionings, but also in terms of the freedom to choose between different functionings. I t implies that individuals with the same observed functionings may have different well-being because their choice sets (i.e. capabilities) are different. The measurement of capabilities is difficult because they are not observed. In this paper, we measure the capability of Italian women to move freely even if we only observe the realized choices. In order to distinguish between the latent capabilities of movement and the observed functionings, we adopt a new methodology based on the theory of random scale models. The data set is selected from a domestic violence survey of 25,000 Italian women for year 20 06. We demonstrate that such models can offer a suitable framework for measuring well-being freedom and therefore capabilities. In particular, we find out that the percentage of women who are predicted to be restricted in their freedom of movement is about 25% . Moreover, if all women were unconstrained, 16.4 percent of them would choose to do more activities, i.e to have more freedom of movement.
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