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Capabilities and Satisfaction with Life


  • Erik Schokkaert


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Schokkaert, 2007. "Capabilities and Satisfaction with Life," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 415-430.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:8:y:2007:i:3:p:415-430
    DOI: 10.1080/14649880701462239

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