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Inequality and the capability approach

Burchardt, Tania ORCID: 0000-0003-4822-4954 and Hick, Rod (2017) Inequality and the capability approach. CASEpapers (201). Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London, UK.

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Inequality has acquired a newfound prominence in academic and political debate. While scholars working with the capability approach have succeeded in influencing the nature of debate about the conceptualisation and measurement of poverty, which is increasingly understood in multidimensional terms, the recent literature on inequality focusses overwhelmingly on economic forms of inequality, and especially on inequalities in income and wealth. In this paper we outline how and why the capability approach might be employed to provide a richer understanding of inequality, and of ‘advantage’ in particular. We also discuss three issues that arise when seeking to apply the capability approach to examine inequality rather than the more traditional concern with poverty. Addressing these issues is central to unlocking the potential that the capability approach has to enrich the understanding of inequality.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I31 - General Welfare; Basic Needs; Living Standards; Quality of Life; Happiness
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I32 - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2020 15:00
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2024 07:59

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