Title: Do Sen's capabilities determine happiness? Evidence from a unique survey data

Authors: Hamid Hasan; Hayat Khan

Addresses: Department of Economics, School of Business, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia ' Faculty of Business Economics and Law, La Trobe Business School, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086, Australia

Abstract: We use a unique dataset in the Pakistan Socio-Economic Survey (PSES) to measure sense-of-achievement, sense-of-freedom-to-achieve, and sense-of-ability-to-achieve which quantifies Sen's functioning, freedom and conversion efficiency respectively for an overall functioning of 'being achieved'. We show that the PSES capability indicators of subjective well-being (SWB) provide distinctive information while together with the happiness indicator they capture additional insights about SWB which is lacking in human development index (HDI) as shown by a comparison of districts ranking on the basis of HDI and SWB indices. Moreover, we find that the capabilities of 'being achieved' are the most important and stable determinants of happiness vis-à-vis income and education.

Keywords: happiness; Sen's capabilities; subjective well-being; SWB; human development index; HDI; income; education; sense of achievement; freedom to achieve; ability to achieve.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHD.2015.070076

International Journal of Happiness and Development, 2015 Vol.2 No.2, pp.160 - 181

Received: 18 Jun 2014
Accepted: 03 Nov 2014

Published online: 26 Jun 2015 *

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