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The Rights/Development Nexus: Sen, Olson and the Obesity Rights Movement

16 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017  

David W. Rasmussen

Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy

Date Written: June 6, 2017

Abstract

This paper explores how economic development facilitates the creation of interest groups that seek to improve their “capabilities” that, as Amartya Sen has explained, can enhance human freedom. Mancur Olson’s work shows that long periods of political stability can foster “distributive coalitions” that benefit small interest groups at the expense of the nation. In this context the fat acceptance movement is analyzed. Oriented toward reducing discrimination against overweight people, it works to improve their well-being. The fat acceptance movement represents a new kind of distributive coalition: rather than transferring income to overweight people it imposes significant medical costs on the rest of society. This externality provides a justification for public policies that can influence weight without compromising the dignity of overweight people.

Keywords: Obesity, Externalities, Economic Development, Interest Groups, Distributive Coalitions

JEL Classification: I12, I15, I18, O5, 033

Suggested Citation

Rasmussen, David W., The Rights/Development Nexus: Sen, Olson and the Obesity Rights Movement (June 6, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2981737

David W. Rasmussen (Contact Author)

Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy ( email )

636 West Call St.
Tallahasse, FL 30306-1121
United States
904-644-8826 (Phone)
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