Non-monetary poverty and deprivation: A capability approach

Anand, Paul; Jones, Sam; Donoghue, Matthew and Teitler, Julien (2021). Non-monetary poverty and deprivation: A capability approach. Journal of European Social Policy, 31(1) pp. 78–91.



Given the continuing interest in multi-dimensional approaches to poverty, the paper considers ways in which Senian capability indicators can be used to assess and understand poverty and deprivation. More specifically, we develop novel capability data on 29 dimensions for adults from the US, UK and Italy to explore three core research questions. Firstly, we show that when poverty is seen as capability deprivation, different individuals are identified as poor compared with approaches based on low income or subjective wellbeing. However, we also observe that what the poor report being able to do or otherwise is, nonetheless, relatively robust to the use of these three different approaches. Secondly, we employ latent class analysis to identify poverty and deprivation profiles for groups within society and suggest that such profiles help to identify groups who are deprived with respect to some but not all areas of life. Thirdly, and finally, we examine the association between individual capability deprivation and local area deprivation in the UK. We find that individual capabilities are associated with local area deprivation in some cases but that the connections vary significantly depending on the dimension under consideration. We discuss the results and conclude by suggesting that capability indicators can provide insights into poverty which do not emerge from a more traditional approach focussing on income alone.

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