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Capability Approach: Reconciling the Absolute Core and the Multidimensional Relative Poverty Measures

Bao, Yan Xi and Liao, Ting Xuan (2021): Capability Approach: Reconciling the Absolute Core and the Multidimensional Relative Poverty Measures.

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Abstract

Despite serious methodological issues, poverty measurement based on capability approach generally relies on the idea of the "irreducible absolutist core". By revisiting the seminal argument between Sen and Townsend on the nature of poverty, this paper aims to elaborate the necessity and rationality of incorporating the multidimensional relative poverty measures into the capability space. We suggest that multifaceted deprivation analyses in relative terms can supplement the absolute one in three-pronged ways. First, studies through the lens of relative standing draw considerably attention to the role of preferences and social norms, which typically ignores by absolute approach. Second, many of the social indicators are inherently characterized by a relative feature inter alia educational attainment and water & sanitation supply services. Third, the relative perspective typically outperforms against the absolute standing with respect to the intertemporal comparative analysis of a given community. To capture a full profile of multidimensional poverty, we need two methods to supplement rather than supplant each other.

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