Measuring Freedoms

Instructor: Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI

Class Objectives:

  • Conceptual issues – capability vs functionings
  • Where is the literature? – theory vs empirical applications
  • Multidimensional poverty measures: mainly functionings
  • Methods of addressing freedom: Opportunity Sets, Agency, Subjective evaluation
  • Data issues
  • Aggregation issues
  • Open questions



[flashvideo title=Measuring Freedoms 1 image=wp-content/uploads/default_video.jpg file=wp-content/uploads/SSMeasuringFreedoms_Alkire_Part1_050908.m4v /]

[flashvideo title=Measuring Freedoms 2 image=wp-content/uploads/default_video.jpg file=wp-content/uploads/SSMeasuringFreedoms_Alkire_Part2_050908.m4v /]

[flashvideo title=Measuring Freedoms 3 image=wp-content/uploads/default_video.jpg file=wp-content/uploads/SSMeasuringFreedoms_Alkire_Part3_05080908.m4v /]

Download Video (large files)

[To save file, right click to “Save Target As” (Windows) or control + click (Mac)]

Measuring Freedoms Part1 , Measuring Freedoms Part2 , Measuring Freedoms Part3

Reading List
Basic Readings:
SEN, A. K. (2002) Rationality and freedom. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, Ch 19 and 20 and the references therein.

Further readings:
PATTANAIK, P. and Y. XU (1990), “On ranking opportunity sets in terms of freedom of choice.” Recherches Economiques de Louvain 56:383-390.
ROEMER, J. E. (2002) “Equality of opportunity: A progress report.” Social Choice and Welfare 19:455-471. (Roemer’s approach is the main ‘alternative’ to the capability approach – how is it different? What are its strengths and oversights?)
ALKIRE, S. (2007), “Measuring freedoms alongside well-being”, in GOUGH, I. and J. A. MCGREGOR (eds.) Well-being in developing countries: new approaches and research strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
SUGDEN, R. (2003), “Opportunity as a space for individuality: Its value and the impossibility of measuring it.” Ethics 113:783-809.
ANAND, P., and M. VAN HEES (2006) “Capabilities and achievements: an empirical study.” Journal of Socio-Economics 35:268-284.