New Zealand’s Living Standards Framework
what might Amartya Sen say?
Amartya Sen’s capability approach is a guiding light for international efforts to improve the measurement of national well-being. This article compares Sen’s nuanced philosophical ideal with the New Zealand Treasury’s Living Standards Framework, which identifies the capability approach as one of various influences. However, the idea of the capability – that is, people’s freedoms to lead the kind of lives they have reason to value – remains an interpretive possibility, rather than a design feature. To give the capability its due importance, policymakers will need to utilise this idea when making sense of the Dashboard’s indicators and instilling policy relevance.
Permission: In the interest of promoting debate and wider dissemination, the IGPS encourages use of all or part of the articles appearing in PQ, where there is no element of commercial gain. Appropriate acknowledgement of both author and source should be made in all cases. The IGPS retains copyright. Please direct requests for permission to reprint articles from this publication to firstname.lastname@example.org.