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Two fundamental attributes of the capability approach are (i) a broadening of the evaluation space from the instrumental means such as income to the intrinsic ends of beings and doings, or functionings; and (ii) the further broadening of evaluation from achievement of ends to opportunity to achieve those ends—from functionings to capabilities. This paper accepts the first broadening but presents a critique of the opportunity perspective in capability theory, using as a platform a critique of recent work on inequality of opportunity. The paper argues that similar critiques of concept and empirical application apply to capability analysis as an analysis and an evaluation of opportunity. Perhaps for this reason, much of the practical implementation of capability theory ends up by in fact focusing only on outcomes in functionings space, with only a loose link to opportunity.


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