Capabilities and Human Development: Beyond the Individual - The Critical Role of Social Institutions and Social Competencies

22 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013

See all articles by Frances Stewart

Frances Stewart

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 8, 2013

Abstract

Social interactions are a quintessential part of human life, and their quantity and quality determine a person’s social or relational capabilities (capabilities involving relations with others). In addition, social institutions and social competencies play a critical role in advancing capabilities and shaping individual choice. Social institutions (norms and organizations) operate collectively (defined here to exclude the government and the private sector). Social competencies are what social institutions can do or be. As well as an important instrumental role in creating and enhancing particular capabilities, social institutions help shape individual preferences and behaviour so that individuals cannot be assumed to be fully autonomous. Finally, relations among people and institutions determine whether a society is peaceful, cohesive and inclusive. This paper analyses some policy implications arising from this analysis - aimed at promoting well-functioning social institutions likely to advance human development.

Keywords: human development, developing countries, demographics, human development index, global South, HDI, development cooperation

Suggested Citation

Stewart, Frances, Capabilities and Human Development: Beyond the Individual - The Critical Role of Social Institutions and Social Competencies (July 8, 2013). UNDP-HDRO Occasional Papers No. 2013/03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2344469

Frances Stewart (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Oxford, OX1 3BJ, Oxfordshire OX13UQ
United Kingdom

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