Becker Friedman Institute

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Capabilities and Skills

This paper discusses the relevance of recent research on the economics of human development to the work of the Human Development and Capability Association. The recent economics of human development brings insights about the dynamics of skill accumulation to the literature on capabilities. Skills embodied in agents empower people. Enhanced skills enhance opportunities and hence promote capabilities. We address measurement problems common to both the economics of human development and the capability approach. The economics of human development analyzes the dynamics of preference formation, but is silent about which preferences should be used to evaluate alternative policies. This is both a strength and a limitation of the approach.

Authors: 
Chase O. Corbin, University of Chicago
James J. Heckman, The University of Chicago
Publication Date: 
August, 2016
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2016-018
File Description: 
First version, July, 2016