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    1.In what ways do the following concepts of development overlap and do not overlap with “development as freedom” or “expansion of capabilities”:

    • Development as growth;
    • Development as the fulfilment of basic needs;
    • Improved governance, gender and civic freedoms and environmental sustainability.

    You can take a practical approach by using country experiences to illustrate your points, wherever possible, or you can take a more philosophical approach (or some combination of the two)

    2.Choose one developing (or transition) country from the group below then:

    (a)Broadly describe their experience in terms of changes in happiness measures from 2006 to 2016 (see the Appendix to Chapter 2 of World Happiness Report 2017: http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2017/);

    (b)Determine to what extent social, political and economic changes during that period may help to explain those changes.


    Paraguay Sri Lanka Thailand Sierra Leone


Subject Law and government Pages 4 Style APA


Development as Freedom or Expansion of Capabilities


Development is a key element in the progress of a nation. Among the most primary objectives of any country is development. Amartya Sen introduced two different perspectives of development: development as freedom and expansion of capabilities (Chiappero-Martinetti, & Venkatapuram, 2014). The purpose of this paper is to address various elements of development from these viewpoints.

Development as growth neither overlaps with ‘development as freedom’ nor ‘expansion of capabilities’. The reason for this is that Sen’s approach particularly focuses on the individual and aims to challenge the measurement of development by economic growth. However, an interconnection may be established in case developmental growth results in the availability of opportunities to the people that allows them more freedom and expands their capabilities.

Development as the fulfillment of basic needs overlaps with ‘expansion of capabilities’ (Sen. 2001).  According to Sen, development should enhance the capacity of an individual or individuals to fulfill their basic needs. “If life is seen as a set of “doings and beings” that are valuable, the exercise of assessing the quality of life takes the form of evaluating these functionings the capability to function” (Sen, n.d., p. 43).

The concept of improved governance, gender and civic freedoms and environmental sustainability overlaps with the viewpoint of ‘development as freedom’. There are three primary freedoms: economic protection from poverty, freedom of opportunity, and political freedom and transparency. Improved governance denotes political freedom and transparency. A case example is the USA and its absolute dedication to democracy. Similarly, the USA is considered to be a land of opportunity and, hence the term “American Dream”. Furthermore, in America people are protected from abject poverty through the provision of unemployment relief to sustain those are incapable of sustaining themselves due to unemployment.

Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa, will be utilized for the purpose of demonstration in this context. According to the 2017 World Happiness Report, Sierra Leone ranks as the 106th happiest nation in the world. Between 2006 and 2016, the country has undergone drastic changes in its level of happiness. The level of happiness underwent a minor drop in 2006-2007 and reached its lowest point in 2008. Thereafter, it experienced a steady rise with minor fluctuations from 2010 to 2014. Following a slight drop in 2014, the country’s level of happiness rose in 2015 and experienced a slight drop in 2016 (Wang, Huang, & Helliwell, 2017). 

Source: Wang, Huang, & Helliwell, (2017, p. 13)

There are various factors that may explain the fluctuations in the levels of happiness in Sierra Leone between 2006 and 2016. Notably, the GDP of Sierra Leone has undergone drastic changes over the ten-year period. With every notable increase in GDP, there was a proportional increase in the level of happiness. This may attributed to the concept of ‘expansion of capabilities’ or ‘development of freedom’ that a nation’s GPD may influence (Helliwell, Layard, & Sachs, 2017). Furthermore, the availability of social support in the country has also undergone regular fluctuations during this period. An increase in social support results in a subsequent rise in the people’s levels of happiness. In addition, the people’s perceptions of corruption in their country have fluctuated consistently over the years, which have influenced the changes in the level of happiness.


Conclusively, development may be viewed in terms of freedom or expansion of capabilities. Both these perspectives focus on the people living in a nation and how the concept of development actually affects their lives. Sen was opposed to the measurement of development in accordance with economic growth; rather he perceived development as the increase of opportunities that are available to the people.




Chiappero-Martinetti, E., & Venkatapuram, S. (2014). The capability approach: a framework for population studies. Etude de la Population Africaine, 28(2), 708.

Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2017). World Happiness Report 2017. Retrieved from http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2017/

Sen, A. (2001). Development as freedom. Oxford Paperbacks.

Sen, A. (n.d.). development as capability expansion. USA: Harvard University.

Wang, S., Huang, H., & Helliwell, J. (2017). Statistical Appendix for “The social foundations of world happiness”, Chapter 2, World Happiness Report 2017. Retrieved from http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2017/


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