Renouard, Cécile, and Gael Giraud (2009). "Relational Capability: A Dynamic Indicator of Collective Empowerment applied to the Niger Delta" Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

We de?ne a new index for the collective empowerment of populations, based on the capability of individuals to have relationships and to enter into networks. This index, called “relational capability”, is dynamic in the sense that the weight of its various components varies across time, according to how close the population is to some poverty threshold. We apply this index to the analysis of the impact of oil companies on local development in the Niger Delta (Nigeria). A region such as Eastern Obolo, which is much poorer with respect to any income-oriented measure, turns out to exhibit a higher relational capability than the alternate, and much richer, region of Onelga. We argue that the inequalities in terms of relational capability among citizens may play a pivotal role when evaluating the human development of a population, and show this to be the case for oil host communities in the Niger Delta.