Identifying and Using Human Capabilities in Institutional Analysis

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



"This paper examines the opportunities and challenges involved in incorporating Amartya Sens capability approach to human development into the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. I assume that meeting sustainability goals for common-pool resources (CPRs) requires meeting at least two conditions: efficiency in the management of a given resource system and equity in the allocation of those resources. So far, the IAD framework provides little explicit attention to issues of equity. I argue for a more explicit account of equity in CPRs by examining how factors in the day-to-day operational level of analysis constrain or empower agents at the collective-choice level of analysis. This is an important, but largely ignored, feature of institutions that is aptly captured by Amartya Sens capability approach. This paper offers a tripartite argument: in the first section, I draw on Bina Agarwals (2010) case-study and extend her model on gender inequality in Community Forestry Institutions (CFIs) in South Asia to demonstrate what capabilities are themselves capable of doing when understood in concrete terms. In Section II, I argue for the robustness of capabilities as theoretical entities vis-à-vis CPRs. In the final section, I advance the methodological argument that Amartya Sens capability approach could be incorporated into the IAD framework with great benefit to scholars and practitioners of CPR management."



institutional analysis--IAD framework, common pool resources, IASC