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Microfinance and Amartya Sen's capability approach

Tseng, Chuan Chia (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

There are two main motivations for undertaking this thesis on Sen’s capability approach and microfinance. One is to evaluate Sen’s capability approach by considering moral philosophy (utilitarianism and John Rawls’ theory of justice) and developmental ethics contexts. The other is to analyse the impact of microfinance on poverty reduction in accordance with Sen’s approach. This thesis argues that Although Sen’s capability approach has drawbacks, both as a general moral theory and as a theory of justice, it does bring up important aspects of development and poverty reduction. When the empirical evidence is combined with criteria from the capability approach, microfinance is a relative failure as a poverty-reducing approach. The evidence that micro-loans reduce poverty is weak, and there are moral arguments against the group lending approach that is used to assure repayments. Other services sometimes associated with microfinance – savings and insurance — do help the poor, however. However, we should notice that the conclusion I propose here does not exclude the possibility that perhaps microfinance does help promote some other freedoms that are of significance locally.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Sorrell, Tom
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Institute of Philosophy
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:2921
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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