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Human Development &
Capability Association

Agency, Well-Being and Justice

HDCA History & Mission

Watch the HDCA's 15th Anniversary slideshow, with photos and statements from HDCA members about what the association has meant to them


The main aim of The Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) is to promote high quality research and scholarship, including among early career researchers, in the field of human development and the capability approach. Themes include justice, poverty, gender, education, environment, and measurement, inter alia. Researchers work generatively in and across disciplines and fields, including economics, philosophy, political theory, sociology, development studies, health and education. The HDCA also seeks to bring together researchers and practitioners interested in the application of capabilitarian scholarship to the practical and policy problems they face.


After successful conferences at Cambridge and Pavia, the HDCA was launched in 2004, and now holds a very successful annual international conference with partners in different locations around the world. In addition, there has been significant growth and strengthening of a wide range of thematic groups and regional networks globally, as well as the development of an excellent annual Summer School.

Over the years, the HDCA has been led by presidents from different scholarly disciplines:

  • Amartya Sen (2004 - 2006) - economics
  • Martha Nussbaum (2006 - 2008) - philosophy
  • Frances Stewart (2008-2010) - development studies
  • Kaushik Basu (2010-2012) - economics
  • Tony Atkinson (2012-2014) - economics
  • Henry Richardson (2014-2016) - philosophy
  • Ravi Kanbur (2016-2018) - economics
  • Ingrid Robeyns (2018-2020) - philosophy
  • Jay Drydyk (2020-2022) - philosophy
  • Melanie Walker (2022-2024) – education
  • Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti (2024-2026) - economics
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