The importance of what people care about
AbstractHappiness studies have rekindled interest in the measurement of subjective well-being, and often claim to track faithfully â€˜what people care aboutâ€™ in their lives. It is argued in this article that seeking to respect individualsâ€™ preferences in the context of making intrapersonal and interpersonal comparisons for social evaluation has important and somewhat surprising implications, which shed light, in particular, on subjective measures and their objective alternatives, such as Senâ€™s capability approach. Four points are made. First, raw subjective well-being scores are problematic because they involve different calibration norms for different individuals or for the same individuals at different times. Money-metric and similar measures appear more attractive in this perspective. Second, if individuals genuinely care about their relative positions, incorporating such relative aspects in the evaluation of individual situations does not necessarily lead to rewarding the selfish and malevolent. Third, in the context of risk, relying on ex ante preferences may clash with a concern for ex post preferences, which are better informed. Fourth, focusing on opportunities or capabilities may fail to respect preferences.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by in its journal Politics, Philosophy & Economics.
Volume (Year): 11 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Contact details of provider:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.