Human Capabilities and Instrumental Freedoms Relationship: An Empirical Investigation

Nour Eddine Aguenane (1)
(1) Faculty of Law, Economics, and Social Sciences, Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, Morocco. Email: , Morocco


Purpose of the study: In Development as freedom, Amartya Sen confirmed the crucial "instrumental" role of five kinds of freedoms in the promotion of capabilities and therefore in the process of human development in general. These are political freedoms, economic facilities, transparency guarantees, social opportunities, and protective security. This paper has three empirical objectives: 1) to measure the effect of instrumental freedoms on capabilities, 2) to verify if this effect becomes stronger once instrumental freedoms are interconnected, and 3) to verify whether this relationship is moderated by the level of economic development achieved by each country.

Methodology: To achieve these three objectives, this article confronts the second-order construct of "instrumental freedoms" (as an exogenous variable) with five first-order constructs (as endogenous variables). The five endogenous latent variables reflect the capabilities of health, education, housing, employment, and communication and mobility at the level of the sixty countries selected as the analysis samples. The estimation of the hierarchical structural model is done using the partial least squares approach and the repeated indicator method.

Main Findings: This study highlights three major results: 1) The existence of a significant effect of instrumental freedoms on the five relevant capabilities selected. 2) When instrumental freedoms interconnect, they reinforce each other and their effect on human capabilities becomes stronger. 3) The multi-group analysis suggests that instrumental freedoms positively and significantly impact human capabilities in the same way in both developed and developing countries.

Research implications: Freedom plays a "constitutive" and "instrumental" role in the development process. To provide people with the freedom to live according to their aspirations, public policies must be empowering. In other words, they should improve the instrumental perspective of at least three essential freedoms: political freedoms, economic facilities, and transparency guarantees.

Novelty/Originality of this study: Apart from the works which attempted to operationalize Amartya Sen's capability approach, the relationship between instrumental freedoms and human capabilities has not been the subject of empirical studies. This paper is intended as a contribution to this field of investigation.

Full Article

Generated from XML file


Aguenane, N. E. (2019a). Bien-être et croissance économique: le tandem inconciliable?. La Revue Marocaine de la Pensée Contemporaine, (3), 1-17.

Aguenane, N. E. (2019b). Assessing well-being: welfare economics, social choice theory, and theory of justice. International Review of Economics, Management and Law Research, 1 (1), 1-18.

Aguenane, N. E. (2019c). Economic growth, inequality and poverty: a review in the light of the capability approach. Journal d’Economie, de Management, d’Environnement et de Droit, 2(2), 72-85.

Aguenane, N. E. (2020). Regional Disparities In Human Development: The Case Of Moroccan Regions. International Journal of Social Sciences and Economic Review, 2(2), 28-34.

Alkire, S. (2010). Instrumental freedoms and human capabilities. In Esquith, Stephen L.; Gifford (eds.), Capabilities, Power, and Institutions. Towards a More Critical Development Ethics, 18-32, Pennsylvania Park : The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Alkire, S. (2013). Choosing dimensions: The capability approach and multidimensional poverty. In The many dimensions of poverty, (pp. 89-119). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Ayalew, N. A. (2019). Duty Of Confidentiality In Arbitration Process In Ethiopia. International Journal of Social Sciences and Economic Review, 1(2), 92-100. doi:

Becker, J. M., Klein, K., & Wetzels, M. (2012). Hierarchical latent variable models in PLS-SEM: guidelines for using reflective-formative type models. Long range planning, 45(5-6), 359-394.

Bhatti, A., & Akram, H. (2020). The Moderating Role Of Subjective Norms Between Online Shopping Behaviour And Its Determinants. International Journal of Social Sciences and Economic Review, 2(2), 1-09. doi:

Bradley, W., & Henseler, J. (2007). Modeling reflective higher-order constructs using three approaches with PLS path modeling: a Monte Carlo comparison. In Conference Proceedings ANZMAC 2007, edited by M. Thyne, and K. R. Deans, 791–800. Dunedin: ANZMAC.

Chin, W. W. (1998). The partial least squares approach to structural equation modeling. Modern methods for business research, 295(2), 295-336.

Choudhury, A. H. (2019). Historical background of the Rohingya refugee crisis and the implication of their statelessness. International Journal of Social Sciences and Economic Review, 1(1), 8-15. doi:

Ciavolino, E., and M. Nitti. 2010, September). High-order Constructs for the Structural Equation Model. Presented at the V Meeting on Dynamics of Social and Economic Systems, Benevento.

Henseler, J., C. M., Ringle, and R. R. Sinkovics. (2009). The Use of Partial Least Squares Path Modeling in International Marketing.” In Advances in International Marketing, 277-319, edited by R. R. Rudolf and P. N. Ghauri, Bingley: Emerald.

Henseler, J., Wilson, B., Götz, O., & Hautvast, C. (2007). Investigating the moderating role of fit on sports sponsoring and brand equity: A structural model. 8(4), 1-10.

Hult, G., M. Sarstedt, M. C. Ringle, and J. Hair. (2016). A Primer on Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM). Thousand Oaks : SAGE Publications.

Jacobowicz, E. (2007). Contributions aux modèles d'équations structurelles à variables latentes. Thèse de doctorat, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers-CNAM.

Krishnakumar, J. (2007). Going Beyond Functionings to Capabilities: An Econometric Model to Explain and Estimate Capabilities. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, 8(1), 39-63.

Lacroux, A. (2009) : L’analyse des modèles de relations structurelles par la méthode PLS : une approche émergente dans la recherche quantitative en GRH. Presented at the XXème congrès de l’AGRH, Toulouse.

Law, M., Stewart, D., Letts, L., Pollock, N., Bosch, J., & Westmorland, M. (1998). Guidelines for critical review of qualitative studies. McMaster University occupational therapy evidence-based practice research Group, 1-9.

Robeyns, I. (2005). Selecting capabilities for quality of life measurement. Social indicators research, 74(1), 191-215.

Sen, A. (1999b). Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sen, A. K. (1992). Inequality Re-examined. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sen, A. K. (1999a). Commodities and Capabilities. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Sen, A. K. (2009). The Idea of Justice. Londres: Penguin Books.

Sosik, J. J., kahai, S. S., piovoso, M. J. (2009). Silver bullet or Voodoo statistics? A primer for using the partial least squares data analytic technique in group and organization research. Group & Organization Management, 34(1), 5-36.


Nour Eddine Aguenane (Primary Contact)
Aguenane, N. E. (2020). Human Capabilities and Instrumental Freedoms Relationship: An Empirical Investigation. Innovation Journal of Social Sciences and Economic Review, 2(3), 12–21.

Article Details


Smart Citations via scite_