The informational basis of local economic development according to the capability approach : comparing the instrumental and the capability-based approach to local economic development

Gébert Judit and Bajmócy Zoltán: The informational basis of local economic development according to the capability approach : comparing the instrumental and the capability-based approach to local economic development. ISBN 978-963-306-262-3, (2014)

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The conventional goal of local economic development in the literature is to increase well-being or quality of life of local residents. However, it remains hidden what is the substantive meaning of well-being or quality of life. Besides, growth of income and employment are implicitly considered as the goals themselves in local economic strategies. We argue that the determination of the objective of local economic development should be based on the capability approach and be formulated as follows: the goal of local economic development is the widening of the capabilities of local residents. In our paper, we outline a normative evaluative framework based on the capability theory of Amartya Sen, which is able to help to design and evaluate local development projects both in developing and developed regions. In this paper we focus on the informational basis of this normative framework and compare it with the dominant view that we shall call the “instrumental approach”. First, we claim that instead of implicit goals – like economic growth – local development strategies should start with making these goals explicit and define the valuable doings and beings for the community. These valuable functioning should be moulded through social deliberation. Therefore, the theories of deliberative democracy should be connected to the theory of local economic development. Second, when planning and operationalizing development projects, the aspect of conversion factors should be taken into consideration. Development strategies should be aware of the well-interpreted fact that real income is only a mean to broaden our capabilities and not an end in itself. How local residents can convert their means into valuable functionings is affected by different conversion factors, like environment, physical abilities, social norms etc. These conversion factors should be incorporated into the informational basis of local economic development. Third, the local level of development is especially appropriate to involve direct participation and incorporate lay knowledge beside expert knowledge. The theory of capability approach also emphasizes the importance of agency – the capability to represent my own aims and bring about change. Therefore the aspect of agency should also be part of the included information in the theoretical framework of local economic development. We illustrate our arguments with a case study about an irrigation-based community development project in Morocco.

Item Type: Book
Date: 2014
Volume: 11
ISSN: 2061-5353
ISBN: 978-963-306-262-3
Page Range: pp. 1-17
Number of Pages: 17
Series Name: Műhelytanulmányok
Language: English
Publisher: Szegedi Tudományegyetem Gazdaságtudományi Kar
Place of Publication: Szeged
Uncontrolled Keywords: Képességszemlélet, Gazdaságpolitika
Additional Information: Bibliogr.: p. 15-17. ; összefoglalás angol nyelven
Subjects: 05. Social sciences
05. Social sciences > 05.02. Economics and business
Date Deposited: 2019. May. 27. 13:57
Last Modified: 2021. Sep. 07. 10:58

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