Measuring capability: Reexamining axiomatic approaches

Wang, Huilin (2016). 'Measuring capability: Reexamining axiomatic approaches' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.


abstract
Amartya Sen proposed a new way of measuring individual’s welfare that takes into account both well-being and advantage aspects, instead of focusing only on wealth or utility. The well-being aspect reflects what an individual actually do and the advantage aspect shows what the individual can potentially access. Both these aspects are indispensable .
Compared to the traditional one-dimensional way of measuring, an individual’s beings or doings are multidimensional, so how to evaluate them is a key problem. Sen gave four ways to measure well-being and/or advantage corresponding to his own idea in his famous book (Sen 1985) as follows: (1) If there is one element in A which is better than any element in the other set B, then A is better; (2) The number of elements in set A which is not better than any element in B compares with the number of elements in set B which is not better than any element in A, the fewer one is better; (3) Suppose there are two sets with different amount of elements. Then considering a subset of the one with more elements A, let the subset has the same amount of elements with the smaller set B. If there is one element in the subset is at least as good as the elements in the smaller set B, then set A is better; (4) Only when both the best element and the amount of elements in set A is better than another set B, then A is better.
This work is trying to reexamine the existing axiomatic approaches and then check what has already been solved and what has not yet been solved.
 
 

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