Essays on poverty and wellbeing -PhD thesis-

Publication type

Thesis/Degree/Other Honours


Publication date

June 1, 2014


Although economic growth has brought significant improvements in the
standard of living in the UK over recent decades, there are still
individuals living in poverty. Furthermore poverty in the UK is expected
to rise. Although monetary poverty has wide ranging impacts such as
poor health, low educational attainment and employability and reduced
life expectancy, it does not (in the form of a poverty line at 60% of
the median equivalised household income) appear to have an impact on
wellbeing when the threshold was tested. Instead, multidimensional
poverty – that purported by the Capabilities Approach – is a more
individually relevant measure of poverty. Using a list, developed by
Nussbaum, of core capabilities seen as essential for human life,
capability measures were taken from the British Household Panel Survey.
In analysis, some are found to be significant determinants of wellbeing,
individually and in sum. Furthermore, individuals within the dataset
experience loss aversion to capabilities. This thesis concludes that
poverty measurement should be meaningful at the individual level, and to
that aim, the Capabilities Approach provides a richer and more relevant
evaluation of what poverty really means.





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