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Capability and happiness: Conceptual difference and reality links

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  • Veenhoven, Ruut

Abstract

Happiness is not the same as capability, but the matters are related. Capability is obviously required for living a happy life and happiness feeds back on capability in several ways. Capabilities affect happiness not only at the individual level, but also indirectly at the societal level. For instance: school education does not seem to make pupils any happier, but a high level of education is required for modern society that does add to happiness. Insight in the interrelations between capability and happiness is required for making policy choices. If the prime aim is greater happiness for a greater number, one must know what capabilities are most functional for happiness in the given conditions. If the cultivation of capabilities is prioritized, one must at least acknowledge the possible loss of happiness. Inspection of the available data does not reveal much conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Veenhoven, Ruut, 2010. "Capability and happiness: Conceptual difference and reality links," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 344-350, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:39:y:2010:i:3:p:344-350
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Anand & Graham Hunter & Ron Smith, 2005. "Capabilities and Well-Being: Evidence Based on the Sen–Nussbaum Approach to Welfare," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 9-55, October.
    2. R. Veenhoven, 2008. "Healthy happiness: effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 449-469, September.
    3. Ruut Veenhoven, 1991. "Is happiness relative?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-34, February.
    4. Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Apparent Quality-of-Life in Nations: How Long and Happy People Live," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 61-86, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeroen Nawijn, 2011. "Happiness Through Vacationing: Just a Temporary Boost or Long-Term Benefits?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 651-665, August.
    2. Jenny Assi & Mario Lucchini & Amedeo Spagnolo, 2012. "Mapping patterns of well-being and quality of life in extended Europe," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 59(4), pages 409-430, December.
    3. Ho, Lok Sang, 2011. "Hong Kong's happiness indices: What they tell us about LIFE?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 564-572.
    4. Angner, Erik, 2010. "Subjective well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 361-368, June.
    5. Veenhoven, Ruut, 2011. "World Database of happiness: Example of a focused ‘Findings Archive’," MPRA Paper 41926, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Maurizio Pugno, 2015. "Capability and Happiness: A Suggested Integration From a Dynamic Perspective," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(6), pages 1383-1399, December.
    7. Graham, Carol & Nikolova, Milena, 2015. "Bentham or Aristotle in the Development Process? An Empirical Investigation of Capabilities and Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 163-179.
    8. Domenica Iezzi & Fiorenza Deriu, 2014. "Women active citizenship and wellbeing: the Italian case," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 845-862, March.
    9. Lotta Uusitalo-Malmivaara, 2012. "Global and School-Related Happiness in Finnish Children," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 601-619, August.
    10. María Laura Arrosa & Néstor Gandelman, 2016. "Happiness Decomposition: Female Optimism," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 731-756, April.
    11. Solava Ibrahim, 2011. "Poverty, aspirations and wellbeing: afraid to aspire and unable to reach a better life – voices from Egypt," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 14111, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    12. Nikolaev, Boris, 2016. "Does Higher Education Increase Hedonic and Eudaimonic Happiness?," MPRA Paper 78438, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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