New Zealand’s Living Standards Framework: What Might Amartya Sen Say?

Item type
Journal Article
Degree name
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Victoria University of Wellington Library

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.

Well-being; Capabilities; Amartya Sen; Political philosophy; Living standards
Policy Quarterly, 15(1). doi:10.26686/pq.v15i1.5294
Rights statement
The journal is freely available online. Authors are required to agree with this open access policy, which enables unrestricted access and reuse of all published articles.