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The capability approach: A promising foundation for sustainable development?

Matthias Seckler and Jürgen Volkert

Ecological Economics, 2021, vol. 183, issue C

Abstract: Over the past few years, the capability approach (CA) has been increasingly recognized as a promising foundation of sustainable development despite the persistent critiques of its deliberative democracy concept. This paper theoretically and empirically analyzes CA's potential and challenges as a foundation for sustainable development. We find that CA is more suitable than standard economic theory as a theoretical framework of sustainable development. Some, although not all of CA's implicit motivational assumptions, are confirmed by our empirical findings. We also find that, to overcome CA's idealized concept of a deliberate democracy, the framework will have to be strengthened. We finally discuss the need for future research and ways to further develop CA as a foundation for sustainable development.

Keywords: Capability approach; Sustainable development; Deliberate democracy; Capability approach assumptions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.106951

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