Operationalizing the capability approach to assessing well-being

Mark D. Agee, Thomas D. Crocker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We consider the conditions under which a singular concentration on objective measures of well-being embodied in the capability approach formulation provide unambiguous guidelines to policymakers who seek to reduce discrepancies between potential and realized outcomes. A consensus benefit of the capability approach is its open-endedness regarding what constitutes the evaluative space and thus its adaptability to particular settings. We present the customary formal statement of the approach and a kindred version involving parental care for a child. We show that to unambiguously explain and to predict what happens in the child's evaluative space, whether this space be potential opportunities, realized achievements, or both, the capability approach requires careful attention to the curvatures of those functions as well as variable interactions central to it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
StatePublished - Oct 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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