Happy Peasants and Frustrated Achievers? Agency, Capabilities, and Subjective Well-Being
AbstractWe explore the relationship between agency and hedonic and evaluative dimensions of well-being, using data from the Gallup World Poll. We posit that individuals emphasize one well-being dimension over the other, depending on their agency. We test four hypotheses including whether: (i) positive levels of well-being in one dimension coexist with negative ones in another; and (ii) individuals place a different value on agency depending on their positions in the well-being and income distributions. We find that: (i) agency is more important to the evaluative well-being of respondents with more means; (ii) negative levels of hedonic well-being coexist with positive levels of evaluative well-being as people acquire agency; and (iii) both income and agency are less important to well-being at highest levels of the well-being distribution. We hope to contribute insight into one of the most complex and important components of well-being, namely, people's capacity to pursue fulfilling lives.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group in its series Working Papers with number 2013-013.
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
agency; capabilities; subjective well-being;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
- G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
- O5 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-11-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-HAP-2013-11-02 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HPE-2013-11-02 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2013-11-02 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
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