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Capabilities and Satisfaction with Life

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  • Erik Schokkaert

Abstract

I argue that the rapidly growing happiness literature raises an important challenge for the capability approach. Its results suggest that it has become possible to measure subjective well-being and to compare its value for different persons. Moreover, if one accepts that the opinions of the people concerned should play some role in the evaluation of the trade-offs between different dimensions of well-being, the information about what makes people feel 'more satisfied with their life as a whole' seems relevant within the capability approach. However, for a non-welfarist, it is necessary to 'clean' the happiness measure to separate the 'ethically' relevant information from the irrelevant noise. I suggest that the introduction of some ideas and concepts from the theory of responsibility-sensitive egalitarianism is a promising method to reinterpret the happiness results.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 415-430

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:8:y:2007:i:3:p:415-430

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Related research

Keywords: Capability; Happiness; Life satisfaction; Responsibility-sensitive egalitarianism;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pudney, Stephen, 2011. "Perception and retrospection: The dynamic consistency of responses to survey questions on wellbeing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 300-310.
  2. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Does Capability Deprivation Hurt? – Evidence from German Panel Data," Ruhr Economic Papers 0359, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  3. M. Fleurbaey., 2012. "Beyond GDP: The Quest for a Measure of Social Welfare," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 2.
  4. Koen Decancq & Luc Van Ootegem & Elsy Verhofstadt, 2013. "What If We Voted on the Weights of a Multidimensional Well‐Being Index? An Illustration with Flemish Data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34, pages 315-332, 09.
  5. Luc Ootegem & Elsy Verhofstadt, 2012. "Using Capabilities as an Alternative Indicator for Well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 106(1), pages 133-152, March.
  6. Canoy, Marcel & Lerais, Frédéric & Schokkaert, Erik, 2010. "Applying the capability approach to policy-making: The impact assessment of the EU-proposal on organ donation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 391-399, June.
  7. Martin Binder, 2013. "Subjective Well-being Capabilities: Bridging the Gap between the Capability Approach and Subjective Well-Being Research," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-02, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  8. Nicolai Suppa, 2012. "Job Characteristics and Subjective Well-Being in Australia – A Capability Approach Perspective," Ruhr Economic Papers 0388, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  9. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2013. "Happiness economics," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 35-60, March.
  10. Belhadj, Besma, 2012. "New weighting scheme for the dimensions in multidimensional poverty indices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 304-307.
  11. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2012. "Yet, two more revisions to the Human Development Index," MPRA Paper 38939, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Karen Hofmann & Dominik Schori & Thomas Abel, 2013. "Self-Reported Capabilities Among Young Male Adults in Switzerland: Translation and Psychometric Evaluation of a German, French and Italian Version of a Closed Survey Instrument," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 723-738, November.
  13. Miniaci, Raffaele & Han, Wei & Cavapozzi, Danilo, 2013. "Alternative weighting structures for multidimensional poverty assessment," Research Report 13018-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).

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