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Subjective and Objective Well-Being in Relation to Economic Inputs: Puzzles and Responses

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  • Des Gasper

Abstract

Systematic, large discrepancies exist between direct measures of well-being and the measures that economists largely concentrate on, notably income. The paper assesses and rejects claims that income is satisfactorily correlated with well-being, and addresses the implications of discrepancies between income measures and measures of subjective well-being (SWB) and objective well-being (OWB) and also between subjective and objective well-being measures themselves. It discusses a range of possible responses to the discrepancies: for example, examination of the specifications used for income, SWB and OWB, and looking for other causal factors and at their possible competitive relations with economic inputs to well-being. It rejects responses that ignore the discrepancies or drastically downgrade their significance by adopting a well-being conception that ignores both SWB and OWB arguments (e.g.: by a claim that all that matters is choice or being active). It concludes that the projects of Sen and others to build syntheses of the relevant responses require further attention.

Suggested Citation

  • Des Gasper, 2005. "Subjective and Objective Well-Being in Relation to Economic Inputs: Puzzles and Responses," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 177-206.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:63:y:2005:i:2:p:177-206
    DOI: 10.1080/00346760500130309
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Deirdre N. McCloskey & Stephen T. Ziliak, 1996. "The Standard Error of Regressions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 97-114, March.
    2. Sudhir Anand & Amartya Sen, 2000. "The Income Component of the Human Development Index," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 83-106.
    3. Cooter, Robert & Rappoport, Peter, 1984. "Were the Ordinalists Wrong about Welfare Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 507-530, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:658-:d:96391 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:308-325 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Gasper, Des, 2007. "What is the capability approach?: Its core, rationale, partners and dangers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 335-359, June.
    4. Drakopoulos, Stavros, 2011. "Hierarchical Needs, Income Comparisons and Happiness Levels," MPRA Paper 48343, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Gasper, D.R., 2006. "Uncounted or illusory blessings? Competing responses to the Easterlin, Easterbrook and Schwartz paradoxes of well-being," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19189, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    6. Drakopoulos, Stavros A. & Grimani, Katerina, 2015. "The Effect of Pay Cuts on Psychological Well-Being and Job Satisfaction," MPRA Paper 61195, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Monica Guillen-Royo & Jackeline Velazco & Laura Camfield, 2013. "Basic Needs and Wealth as Independent Determinants of Happiness: An Illustration from Thailand," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 517-536, January.
    8. repec:spr:climat:v:147:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10584-017-2105-y is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9807-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Gasper, Des, 2010. "Understanding the diversity of conceptions of well-being and quality of life," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 351-360, June.
    11. Drakopoulos, Stavros A. & Grimani, Katerina, 2013. "Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy and the Effect of Income on Happiness Levels," MPRA Paper 50987, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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