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Empowering Excluded Groups: a Multi-dimensional Analysis of China’s Anti-poverty Policies Through the Lens of Amartya Sen’s Capability Perspective

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Abstract

China’s persistent battle against poverty has evolved through comprehensive strategies to build a more equitable society. This study examines the nuanced challenges faced by policy-excluded groups and individuals on the verge of poverty and sheds light on the unintended consequences of existing anti-poverty policies. Drawing on Amartya Sen’s capability approach, the study highlights the critical role of instrumental freedoms in poverty alleviation, emphasizing the need to move beyond traditional income-based measurements. The analysis reveals that policy marginalization is intricately linked to policy design, resulting in the exclusion of distinct population segments. By adopting a multi-dimensional perspective encompassing health, education, and overall human capabilities, the study uncovers a substantial proportion of excluded households experiencing multi-dimensional poverty. The findings underscore the limitations of solely assessing poverty through income levels, urging policymakers to consider these dimensions holistically. Furthermore, the study provides valuable insights for policy formulation and management. It calls for a critical examination of public policies to mitigate their exclusionary effects, particularly in vital anti-poverty systems. Emphasizing the interdependence of economic conditions, social opportunities, political freedoms, protective security, and transparency guarantees, the study advocates for policies that address these dimensions collectively, recognizing their integral role in creating equal social opportunities and developing instrumental freedoms. Overall, this research enriches our understanding of poverty and policy marginalization, offering a theoretical foundation and practical implications for the development and implementation of more inclusive and effective anti-poverty strategies.

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The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Funding

This research was funded by the National Social Science Foundation of China “Study on the Risk of Returning to Poverty and Integral Governance of Rural People Escaping from Poverty” (No. 22CSH019) and the Shandong Provincial Natural Science Foundation “Study on Multi-dimensional Poverty Recognition and Optimization of Rescue Policies for the Marginal Groups at the Poverty Line” (No. ZR202111260051).

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Fan, C. Empowering Excluded Groups: a Multi-dimensional Analysis of China’s Anti-poverty Policies Through the Lens of Amartya Sen’s Capability Perspective. J Knowl Econ (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13132-023-01687-x

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