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Inequality and the capability approach

Burchardt, Tania and Hick, Rod 2017. Inequality and the capability approach. [Working Paper]. CASEpapers, vol. 201. London: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE. Available at:

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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)
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 August 2017
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2017 11:01

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