Amartya Sen, Keynote Address at Conference on Creating Capabilities: Sources and Consequences for Law and Social Policy

This conference, organized by James Heckman, Martha Nussbaum and Robert Pollak, examines a variety of conceptions of human capability, including the Human Development and Capabilities Approach in relation to the recent literature on the economics, neuroscience, and psychology of human development in order to enrich both fields. The conference will foster a broader notion of capability formation than just formal education or cognition.  It will adopt a life cycle perspective on capability expression and formation.  Recent research documenting the contributions of families, schools, governments, and other institutions of society (including religious bodies, community groups, foster care, the juvenile justice system, and on-the-job training) to the formation of capabilities in children, adolescents, and young adults suggests that a broader framework for the Human Development Approach would be useful.  The aim of the conference is to integrate recent advances in understanding how capabilities are produced into the Human Development Approach and to study the implications of the revised research program for law and public policy. Amartya Sen, the 1998 winner of The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, provided the keynote address on April 23, 2010.