Author's School

Brown School

Author's Department

Social Work

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Originally Published In

Trani, J. F., Bakhshi, P., & Rolland, C. (2011). Capabilities, Perception of Well-being and Development Effort: Some Evidence from Afghanistan. Oxford Development Studies, 39:4, 403-426.


This paper examines the relationship between capabilities, well-being and the impact of development efforts in Afghanistan. Using data from a nationally representative survey, we argue that very vulnerable groups maintain a positive perception of well-being by referring to collective values and practices. Our data suggest that deprivation of individual basic capabilities does not systematically lead to a low perception of well-being if individuals have access to other capabilities such as love and care and participation in the community affairs. Nevertheless, access to basic capabilities remains crucial in order to ensure that social norms and expectations cease to constitute constraints and become factors through which agency and empowerment are enhanced. Our results also show the dangers of tackling inequalities by designing policies that target individuals isolated from the group.


DOI: 10.1080/13600818.2011.620089