Amartya Sen, in his most recent book Development as Freedom, argues that expansion of human freedom should both be viewed as the primary end and the principle means of development. This paper provides an overview and a critical scrutiny of the Senian perspective from the point of view of an economist. First, I discuss to what extent Sen's normative theory of development justifies a particular focus on inequality and poverty. Second, I look at Sen's perspective on democratic reasoning as the constructive vehicle for valuational exercises, and in particular how this perspective fits with the recent human development framework of UNDP. Third, I discuss the relevance of markets within the freedom approach, and fourth I review some of the most important empirical interconnections between different freedoms studied by Sen.

Bertil Tungodden

Associated Senior Researcher

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