Understanding Poverty: Comparing Basic Needs Approach and Capability Approach

14 Pages Posted: 24 May 2012

See all articles by Shing Yip Wong

Shing Yip Wong

University of Bristol - School for Policy Studies; The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Date Written: May 8, 2012

Abstract

The concept of poverty needs a clear and practical definition. This article examines the basic needs approach as well as the capability approach and compares their key characteristics. They have diverse philosophical underpinnings and thus results in different definition. The former one focuses on consumption while the latter one focuses on people’s values and choices. Given the differences between these two approaches, they lead to different poverty reduction strategies. Moreover, they also operate under different power relationships and applied at different levels of government. Nevertheless, each of them exhibits distinctive strengths and weaknesses. This article explores an integrative and practical solution for understanding poverty.

Keywords: poverty, basic needs, capability, human development, freedom

JEL Classification: I30, I31, I32, O19

Suggested Citation

Wong, Shing Yip, Understanding Poverty: Comparing Basic Needs Approach and Capability Approach (May 8, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2066179 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2066179

Shing Yip Wong (Contact Author)

University of Bristol - School for Policy Studies ( email )

8 Priory Road
Clifton
Bristol BS8 ITZ, BS8 1TZ
United Kingdom

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

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