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Disadvantage$
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Jonathan Wolff and Avner de-Shalit

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199278268

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278268.001.0001

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The Indexing Problem

The Indexing Problem

Chapter:
(p.89) Chapter 5 The Indexing Problem
Source:
Disadvantage
Author(s):

Jonathan Wolff (Contributor Webpage)

Avner De-Shalit

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278268.003.0006

If disadvantage is plural, how could we know who are the least advantaged? One possible way of treating this ‘indexing problem’ is to claim that pluralism is not the problem but the solution: that is, the state should isolate each functioning and challenge each area of disadvantage separately (sectoral justice). It is argued this approach is unable to show how to set priorities between different budget heads. A method is suggested for indexing disadvantages relying on the idea of ‘weighting sensitivity’, which looks for convergence in ordering between different weighting schemes. However, this method is complex and a simpler, pragmatic method is proposed, which looks directly for clustering of disadvantage between six ‘high-weight’ functionings which appeared as the most important ones in the interviews: life, bodily health, bodily integrity, affiliation, control over environment, and sense of imagination and thought. Those who do poorly on several of these categories will be among the least advantaged in society.

Keywords:   clustering of disadvantages, complexity, disadvantage, functionings, high-weight functionings, sectoral justice, weighting sensitivity

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