The Rights/Development Nexus: Sen, Olson and the Obesity Rights Movement
16 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 6, 2017
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
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