Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Confidence in Subjective Evaluation of Human Well-Being in Sen’s Capabilities Perspective

  • Hamid HasanEmail author
Research Paper


While Sen’s capabilities approach provides a framework of justice for an assessment of human wellbeing, it faces a challenge on the operationalisation side in practice. The happiness approach to measuring wellbeing, in contrast, provides a workable framework of subjective wellbeing assessment using the tools of psychology. The present paper proposes a new way of subjective evaluation of capabilities with a critical review of literature on alternative methodologies addressing the issues in operationalizing Sen’s capabilities approach. The paper argues that some of the methodological problems, reviewed in this paper, can be greatly minimized if we consider capabilities of “being achieved”, which is an overall functioning, for the assessment of human wellbeing. The proposed subjective solution to these problems is defended against Sen’s popular criticism on happiness using Sen’s position-dependent argument.


Capabilities Functionings Happiness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Institute of Islamic EconomicsIslamabadPakistan

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