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Open Access Subjective wellbeing: a primer for poverty analysts

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA licence.
The article reviews the current theory and measurement of subjective wellbeing (SWB). The first two sections discuss growing efforts in many countries to measure and monitor national wellbeing, particularly in the United Kingdom. The third and fourth sections discuss the novelty and controversies about SWB research. It concludes that a critical approach is essential in evaluating SWB research but dismissing it offhand or framing it as antithetical to objective wellbeing is misconceived. The pressing issue for poverty research and public policy is to determine which insights about SWB are worth using, and how much space within conceptions of wellbeing used in public policy should be given to SWB.

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Keywords: CAPABILITIES APPROACH; HAPPINESS; OBJECTIVE WELLBEING; POVERTY; SUBJECTIVE WELLBEING

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 February 2013

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