Capability approach

Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

The capability approach (also referred to as the capabilities approach) is a normative approach to human welfare that concentrates on the actual capability of persons to achieve their well-being rather than on their mere right or freedom to do so. It was conceived in the 1980s as an alternative approach to welfare economics. In this approach, Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum bring together a range of ideas that were previously excluded from (or inadequately formulated in) traditional approaches to the economics of welfare. The core focus of the capability approach is on what individuals are able to do (i.e., capable of).