Capabilities, Subjective Wellbeing and Public Policy: A Response to Austin (2016)


Journal Article

© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. It has recently been claimed that Sen’s capabilities approach can be used to advise the formation of public policy related to human wellbeing. It has also been proposed that measures of subjective wellbeing are inadequate for this purpose. These ideas are examined in relation to capabilities, using the same reference material as the proposing author. The theory of subjective wellbeing homeostasis is used as the alternative framework by which to understand the potential of subjective wellbeing for policy advice. This examination reveals an almost complete lack of evidence that capability measurement could fulfill the suggested role. While subjective wellbeing has more potential for this purpose, caveats to its employment for policy advice are also evident.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cummins, RA; Land, KC

Published Date

  • November 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 140 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 157 - 173

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-0921

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0303-8300

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11205-017-1763-5

Citation Source

  • Scopus