Author's School

Brown School

Author's Department

Social Work

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Originally Published In

Trani, J. F., Bakhshi, P., Bellanca, N., Biggeri, M., & Marchetta, F. (2011). Disabilities through the capability Approach lens: Implications for public policies. Alter-European Journal of Disability Research, 5(3): 143-157.


This paper explores the contribution of the capability approach of Amartya Sen and other authors to policy making in the specific case of disability policy. After reviewing existing models, their translation into action and their limitations in this regard, the paper introduces a new policy framework based on the capability approach. In particular, we introduce a new measure of functionings and capabilities. We investigate ways of measuring the gap between functionings, what people are able to do and be, and capabilities – the valuable practical opportunities people have and choose from. The possibility of the elaboration of such a disability indicator opens new perspectives for policy making that are of particular interest to persons with disabilities (who are often excluded from mainstream policy making because their agency is not considered by policy makers).


© <2011>. This manuscript version is made avaliable under the CC-YB-NV-ND 4.0 license DOI: 10.1016/j.alter.2011.04.001