The contribution of the Capability Approach to demographic analysis: lessons learned. Tracking Inequalities

  • Claudine Sauvain-Dugerdil University of Geneva
  • Allan G Hill Harvard School of Public Health (Boston) and University of Southampton
Keywords: Capability approach, Inequalities, Agency, Mali, Ghana


In this concluding paper, we discuss the contribution of the Capability Approach to the “tracking” of inequalities, i.e. focusing on opportunities rather than outcomes and targeting both resources and the means to use these resources. We return to two central dimensions of our analyses: the  multiple nature of well-being and the different kinds of means that modulate the unequal individual ability to live a life of quality. We summarize our main results regarding the nature of health and its determinants, the function of services and the multiple meanings of occupation, as well as the role of contextual resources, individual endowments and acquired capacities. A third dimension concerns the role of the global context and what can be said in particular about differences between Mali and Ghana. In the last part, we discuss further developments to improve the tracking of inequalities, first through cross-cutting analyses of different sources of vulnerability and secondly, by making allowance for individual agency.

Author Biography

Claudine Sauvain-Dugerdil, University of Geneva
Institute of Demographic and Life course studies (I-DEMO)