Economics at your fingertips  

The quality of work (QoW): towards a capability theory

Thomas C. Stephens

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: This paper introduces a comprehensive conceptual framework for measuring the Quality of Work (QoW) using the Capability Approach (CA). Drawing from [Robeyns, Ingrid. 2017. Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: The Capability Approach Re-Examined. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers.] modular framework for developing Capability Theories, it proposes we conceive of work as a body of resources existing in a “space” of work. Dimensions of QoW can be identified based on how work resources enhance, or impede, the achievement of important “beings and doings” (Functionings) both inside (intrinsic importance) or outside (instrumental) this space–such as intrinsic Functionings like meaningful work; or instrumental Functionings like family- and life-fulfilment. However, it further argues that many approaches to QoW are under-specified, since they neglect the crucial ways that peoples’ wider circumstances, outside this space of work, determine peoples’ overall work-related wellbeing. This calls for indices of multi-dimensional QoW to also measure (a) the range of wider Functionings people could achieve outside their current work activity (the Capability Set); and (b) personal, social, and environmental factors which affect how work resources are converted into Functionings (Conversion Factors). It is only by taking these circumstances into account that indices can capture the true impact of the worst forms of work, by understanding who is forced to engage in this work.

Keywords: capability approach; work; job quality; employment; platform labour; gig economy; PhD studentship; T&F deal (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J80 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 27 pages
Date: 2023
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hme
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 2023, 24(3), pp. 309 - 335. ISSN: 1945-2829

Downloads: (external link) Open access version. (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by LSERO Manager ().

Page updated 2023-09-30
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:119832