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A ' Stock‐Flow' model of Well‐Being based on Sen's Capability Approach  

A ' Stock‐Flow' model of Well‐Being based on Sen's Capability Approach  

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In Sen's Capability Approach (CA) well-being can be defined as the freedom of choice to achieve the things in life which one has reason to value most for his or her personal life. Capabilities are in Sen's vocabulary therefore the real freedoms people have or the opportunities available to them. In this paper we examine the impact of capabilities a...

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... This is significant within a context in which agency has widely been acknowledged as being important to wellbeing (e.g., [46]), particularly the wellbeing of children [47]. The belief that capabilities influence wellbeing has been tested in a number of studies: for example, Van Ootegem and Verhofstadt [48] found capabilities to be a successful alternative measure for wellbeing (using life satisfaction as an interpretation of wellbeing); and Muffels and Headey [49] suggest that both subjective and objective wellbeing are the outcome of the interaction process between capabilities and choices. However, Irvine et al. [50] propose that childhood in English villages is enclosed, with children's choices being limited by social structures, such as transport systems, safety concerns and so on; amongst other things, these structures limit children's agency to choose to play freely in the outdoors. ...
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Eco-Capabilities is an AHRC funded project situated at the intersection of three issues: a concern with children’s wellbeing; their disconnect with the environment; and a lack of engagement with arts in school curricula. It builds on Amartya Sen’s work on human capabilities as a proxy for wellbeing, developing the term eco-capabilities to describe how children define what they feel they need to live a fully good human life through environmental sustainability, social justice and future economic wellbeing. A total of 101 children aged 7–10 from schools in highly deprived areas participated in eight full days of arts in nature practice. The study drew on arts based research methods, participatory observations, interviews and focus groups with artists, teachers and children. Findings suggest that arts in nature practice contributed towards eight (eco-)capabilities: autonomy; bodily integrity and safety; individuality; mental and emotional wellbeing; relationality: human/nonhuman relations; senses and imagination; and spirituality. This was facilitated through four pedagogical elements: extended and repeated arts in nature sessions; embodiment and engaging children affectively through the senses; ‘slowliness’, which envelops children with time and space to (re)connect; and thoughtful practice, which facilitates emotional expression. We suggest that, through these elements, arts in nature practice supports children’s wellbeing, and guides them towards a more entangled relationship with nature and a clearer understanding of themselves as part of it, thereby motivating them to take better care of it.
... This allowed the use of indicators, which provide direct information on the well-being, the satisfaction level of the individual and collective needs and freedoms they might enjoy by asking directly to the citizens instead of using a theoretical perspective. Recent research points out that an improvement in basic capabilities could supply a greater objective and subjective well-being (Muffels and Headey 2013). On the other hand, an improvement in basic infrastructures increases the subjective well-being and the quality of life (Wang 2022) due to its positive influence on a range of capabilities. ...
... There are many architectural studies that have examined urban planning (Hayden 1981;Birch 1982;Sánchez de Madariaga 2004a, 2004b Recent research points out that an improvement in basic capabilities could supply a greater objective and subjective well-being (Muffels and Headey 2013). On the other hand, an improvement in basic infrastructures increases the subjective well-being and the quality of life (Wang 2022) due to its positive influence on a range of capabilities. ...
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Mainstreaming gender analysis into all aspects of policy making, including infrastructure and economic policy, is a key aspect to achieving gender equality. The main objective of this paper is to examine the impact of several public infrastructures on well-being by gender, applying the Capability and Subjective Well-being approaches. An index of access to infrastructure is constructed and its effect on well-being is estimated using a new survey dataset from Spain. The results from the logistic regression model show that access to infrastructure positively affects subjective well-being, particularly of female respondents. All dimensions of infrastructure matter more for women’s well-being than men’s. Important differences in the impact on well-being by the types of infrastructures analyzed and the impact differs significantly by age are obtained. The findings suggest that designing public infrastructure policies can contribute to reducing gender well-being gap.
... The CA views well-being as "the freedom of choice to achieve the things in life which one has reason to value most" [21] (p. 1161). ...
... 30) and reflect a person's freedom to choose among a set of alternative functionings that they value most [24]. The choices an individual makes depend on the available capabilities, which in turn impact well-being outcomes [21]. Additionally, available resources as well as individual, social, and environmental characteristics enhance or constrain an individual's choices and therefore well-being outcomes [21,25]. ...
... The choices an individual makes depend on the available capabilities, which in turn impact well-being outcomes [21]. Additionally, available resources as well as individual, social, and environmental characteristics enhance or constrain an individual's choices and therefore well-being outcomes [21,25]. Due to the element of choice but also due to differing individual ideas about well-being, the CA suggests that capabilities theoretically are larger than their corresponding functionings. ...
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Background: The range of options people have to do the things they value in life may have strong effects on their well-being. This is especially true for young adults, as their opportunities and choices may affect both their current and future lives. This study follows Sen's capability approach (CA) to assess young people's well-being in terms of capabilities and functionings. Methods: Repeated cross-sectional data from the Young Adult Survey Switzerland were used for the analysis (N = 58,615). Descriptive statistics were applied to analyze the distribution of capabilities and functionings according to individuals' capital equipment. Finally, multivariate regression analyses were conducted to investigate associations between social, cultural, and economic capital; overall capabilities; and functionings. Results: Young men with lower capital equipment rated their capabilities and functionings lower than others. Capabilities and corresponding functionings differed in the domains of health, happiness, and intellectual stimulation. Multivariate analysis confirmed the effects of social, economic, and cultural capital on both overall capabilities and functionings. Conclusions: Young men differ in their perceived capabilities and functionings in different life domains according to their equipment with different forms of capital. To better understand the mechanisms underlying the transformation of capabilities into functionings, future studies should analyze issues of choice and adaptation to restricted living conditions.
... On the other hand, the measurement of capabilities is at its early stages of development. There are several attempts to measure capability indicators based on questions in existing surveys (for instance Anand et al., 2005;Ramos and Silber, 2005;Veenhoven, 2010;Muffels and Heady, 2013;Graham and Nikolova, 2015), following Anand and van Hees (2006) suggestion that survey questions about the "scope to achieve things" and "limitation of opportunities" can capture capabilities. There are also a few specially designed questionnaires (Anand and van Hees, 2006;Anand et al., 2009Anand et al., , 2011Simon et al., 2013). ...
... In fact, previous empirical research has established a correlation between certain capabilities and individual subjective wellbeing (Anand et al., 2005(Anand et al., , 2009Anand and van Hees, 2006;Van Ootegem and Spillemaeckers, 2010;Veenhoven, 2010;Muffels and Heady, 2013;Graham and Nikolova, 2015;Yeung and Breheny, 2016). Starting with those studies using their own measure of capabilities, Anand et al. (2009) found that only 17 of their 65 (dimensions of) capabilities were correlated at a 95% confidence level with life satisfaction (LS), which is their preferred indicator of subjective wellbeing on the grounds of its coherence with Sen-Nussbaum capability approach. ...
... The selection of capability proxies based on existing data is subject to epistemological errors and constrained by data availability that might leave important capabilities unmeasured (Graham and Nikolova, 2015). Muffels and Heady (2013) examined the impact of capabilities on life satisfaction (as well as relative income and employment security) using random and fixed effects GLS models in 25 years of German and 18 years of British panel data. Capabilities are interpreted in terms of the amount of four types of capital: economic (wealth, human capital endowments and skills); social (level of trust in other people and the social networks people are involved in, indicated by the frequency of contact with others and the support people get from others in their network, but also the membership of organizations and associations or clubs such as trade unions, social and sport clubs); cultural (individual values and life goals, such as work, family and social values like helping others and volunteering, and life goals such as forming a family, raising children or making a career and to risk attitudes such as risk taking or risk aversion); and psychological (people's personality traits), This choice is probably attributable to data limitations of existing data sets. ...
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The notion of social belongingness has been applied to different scales, from individual to social processes, and from subjective to objective dimensions. This article seeks to contribute to this multidimensional perspective on belongingness by drawing from the capabilities and subjective wellbeing perspectives. The specific aim is to analyze the relationships between capabilities—including those related to social belongingness—and individual and social subjective wellbeing. The hypotheses are: (H1–H2) There is a relationship between capabilities (measured as evaluation and functioning) and (H1) individual and (H2) social subjective wellbeing; (H3) The set of capabilities associated to individual subjective wellbeing differs from the set correlated to social subjective wellbeing; (H4) The intensity and significance of the correlation between subjective wellbeing and capabilities depends on whether the latter is measured as evaluation or functioning; and (H5) The relationships between capabilities and subjective wellbeing are complex and non-linear. Using a nationally representative survey in Chile, multiple linear (H1–H5) and dose response matching (H1–H5) regressions between capabilities and subjective wellbeing outcomes are estimated, confirming all hypotheses. Subjective evaluations and effective functionings of some capabilities (“basic needs,” “social ties,” “feeling recognized and respected;” “having and deploying a life project”) are consistently correlated with both subjective wellbeing outcomes. Others capabilities are correlated with both subjective wellbeing outcomes only when measured as functionings (contact with nature), do not display a systematic pattern of correlation (“health,” “pleasure,” “participation,” and “human security”) or are not associated with subjective wellbeing (“self-knowledge” and “understanding the world”). When observed, correlations are sizable, non-linear, and consistent across estimation methods. Moreover, capabilities related to social belongingness such as “social ties” and “feeling recognized and respected” are important by themselves but also are positively correlated to both social and individual subjective wellbeing. These findings underscore the need of a multidimensional perspective on the relationships between capabilities and subjective wellbeing, considering both subjective and objective, as well as individual and social aspects that are relevant to belongingness. These findings also have practical and policy implications, and may inform public deliberation processes and policy decisions to develop capabilities, promote subjective wellbeing, and ultimately promote positive belongingness.
... (4) Living environment factors. Land use change is an obvious aesthetic damage that has a greater impact on fragile environments or ecosystems, producing significant negative consequences such as noise pollution and air quality degradation (Muffels & Headey, 2013;Song, Huntsinger, & Han, 2018;Wang, Chen, Wu, & Nie, 2019d;Wang, Dai, Wu, Wu, & Nie, 2019c). This constitutes another indirect damage to the living environment of land-lost farmers. ...
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Spatial regulation produces different advantages in areas with different land resource endowments. It also affects the welfare of stakeholders in different regions. Existing studies mainly focus on the “visible” welfare “windfalls” and “wipeouts” caused by spatial regulation, yet pay little attention on the “invisible” effects. This article selects Tianyang County (a key development zone) and Tiandong County (a restricted development zone) as its principal research areas. These areas have been divided as part of China's major function oriented zone (MFOZ) planning. The MFOZ represents the most significant and broad exercise in spatial regulation. These regions located in Baise City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. After applying Sen's feasibility capability theory as the foundation on which to build a theoretical framework, this article calculates and compares the changes in farmers' welfare before and after losing land in the key development zones (weak spatial regulation) and the restricted development zones (strong spatial regulation) by using a fuzzy mathematics method. The impact of spatial regulation on the “invisible” welfare of land-lost farmers is then analyzed. The results show that: (1) differences in spatial regulation produce “windfalls” in the total welfare of land-lost farmers in the key development zones, but “wipeouts” in the restricted development zones; (2) the “visible” welfare of economic income for land-lost farmers are “windfalls” in the key development zones, but are “wipeouts” in the restricted development zones; (3) the “invisible” welfares of social security, development opportunities, living conditions and psychological conditions are “windfalls” for land-lost farmers in the key development zones, but are “wipeouts” in the restricted development zones; (4) the “invisible” welfare of living environments for land-lost farmers are “wipeouts” in the key development zones, but are “windfalls” in the restricted development zones. This study thereby provides evidence-based insights which can enable countries to formulate spatial regulation systems that promote balanced development among regions, and to fully consider the “invisible” welfare compensation of land-lost farmers as part of land expropriation compensation policies.
... So far, there is little empirical data on how capabilities are created (Heckman & Corbin, 2016) and how community-based clinical social work could enhance capabilities (Albers, 2015;Baumgartner, 2016;James, 2016;Muffels & Headey, 2013). Determinants of capabilities theoretically drawn from a general "top-down" perspective in terms of political frameworks to provide social justice for citizens are rarely precisely defined (Nussbaum, 2011;Pockett & Beddoe, 2017;Volkert, 2014). ...
... General self-efficacy. Self-efficacy was assessed with the German version of the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) since the ability to cope with daily hassles as well as to adapt after experiencing all kinds of stressful life events can be considered psychological capital and thus can influence capabilities (Muffels & Headey, 2013;Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995). The GSE contains 10 questions to be rated on a four-stage scale ranging from 1 (do not agree) to 4 (totally agree). ...
... Global assessment of functioning. We captured psychological, social, and vocational functioning using the third-party-rated Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) because capabilities are argued to be affected by those aspects over time (Jones et al., 1995;Muffels & Headey, 2013;Piersma & Boes, 1997;Saß et al., 2003). GAF values range from 1 to 100, with a value under 10 referring to "[ . . . ...
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Background In the context of political demands for social justice, we analyzed determinants of capabilities in community-based clinical social work. Within the scope of an explorative study with two measuring points, people with chronic mental disorders were questioned regarding capabilities as well as psychosocial, sociodemographic, disease-, and care-related aspects in community mental health-care services in Germany. Results Overall, capabilities were rated as medium and did not change significantly over time. A path model showed empowerment and social inclusion to be the strongest determinants on the improvement of capabilities. Conclusion Community-based clinical social work should foster empowerment and social inclusion through socio-therapeutic or, rather, psychosocial interventions in order to alter capabilities among chronically mentally ill people. This could include psycho- or socio-education as well as family interventions that aim to reduce stress in the family or training in life skills such as dealing with money, personal hygiene, or communication competencies.
... Capability building enables people, groups, organisations and nations to achieve a greater range of activities. Capability is "the real freedoms people have or the opportunities available to them" (Muffels andHeadey 2013: 1159). This paper uses as a case study a capability building programme in Vietnam in the field of maritime archaeology conducted over the past decade, and shows how choices and values impact on the degree to which effective capability building can occur. ...
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Capability building enables people, groups, organisations and nations to achieve a greater range of activities. A program of capability building activities in Vietnam over the past decade provides the case study for this paper. From these activities and the progress of the program we have constructed an explicit approach of capability building that deals with maritime archaeology and underwater cultural heritage. The aim of this paper is to explain how the elements of our value-based approach interact to establish and enhance capability through knowledge capital development. Our notion of capability building is based on a programme taking place over an extended period of time. The extended time period is necessary to achieve long-term change or at least critical reflection on the part of the host organisation. This process causes a direct exposure to the ethical and disciplinary tenets of maritime archaeology on the part of the host organisation, but some initial congruence of values is considered critical in order to achieve effective outcomes. The program is based on principles of commitment to empowerment, participative learning, learning reinforcement mechanisms, and intensive communication with the stakeholders of the host organisation. We argue that training alone does not work and so the approach underlying the programme encompasses an integrated approach by supplementing training in a variety of forms with advice, mentoring, academic research and cultural heritage management-based approaches to help answer specific problems faced by the host organisation.
... Since capabilities refer to potential states and not actual outcomes, they are difficult to study empirically. However, emerging research provides evidence that capabilities (in the sense of an enlarged choice set) have positive effects on well-being (Graham and Nikolova 2015;Muffels and Headey 2013;Verme 2009;Veenhoven 2010). Evidence of a positive relationship between factors such as agency and perceived employability on the one hand and well-being on the other also support the notion that an individual's assessment of her future potentials and opportunities affect her present well-being (for example, Green 2011). ...
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Inequalities in health and well-being are important contemporary public health issues. This article is the first to investigate the institutional causes of inequality in well-being among youth in a comparative perspective. Data from the European Social Survey are used to analyse how educational policies moderate the association between social background and well-being. Multilevel techniques are used to investigate cross-level interactions between social background and educational policies on life satisfaction. Four indicators of inclusive educational policies are analysed: age of tracking, costs of education, enrolment rates, and second-chance opportunities in the educational system. The results show that educational policies indeed moderate the association between social background and well-being: inequalities as measured by the father’s social class are smaller in countries where educational policies are more inclusive. Moreover, the analysis shows that the moderating impact of education policies is mediated by individual-level education, activity status, and income.
... Assessment of the ways in which economic resources contribute to freedom and participation in social activities is particularly relevant to the assessment of living standards among older people who may value specific goods and services differently than younger cohorts. There is a considerable body of theoretical work on Sen's capability approach, but limited empirical research using this approach (Muffels and Headey 2012). This paper reports on the development of a measure of living standards for older people based on Sen's capability framework for use in surveys of older populations. ...
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Living standards are an effective way to assess socioeconomic status in relation to health but controversy remains about their assessment, particularly for older people. Sen’s capability framework shifts attention from material conditions to opportunities for choice enabled by material resources. To develop this promising approach, this paper reports on the development of a measure of living standards for older people based on Sen’s capability framework. Six living standards domains were established from thematic analysis of 143 interviews with people aged over 65 years in New Zealand. Questionnaire items were developed and tested to assess the extent to which older people had the freedom to pursue these domains. The 73 items were tested for face validity in interviews. Following this, a revised version was posted to 2,000 people aged over 65 years randomly selected from the New Zealand electoral roll and 1,064 completed questionnaires were returned. Item screening for response rates and spread reduced the items to 34. Confirmatory factor analysis of these 34 items suggested that the six theoretical domains were supported. Following model development, 25 items assessing the six domains were selected. Results to date show that this measure of living standards (LS-Cap) is a promising instrument to assess living standards as the freedom to access valued needs.
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This article analyzes the main determinants of changes in subjective well-being over time in Germany distinguishing between long-term and short-term changes. Our findings for the long term indicate that social capital and values and cultural dimensions have the greatest capacity to predict changes in subjective well-being. Likewise, the correlation between economic resources and subjective well-being is weaker due to the small increase registered in household income and because people compare their income with those who are better off and feel envy. In the short term, economic resources have the highest capacity to predict both improvements (ups) and declines (downs) in subjective well-being. Finally, we also suggest that, whenever information is available, personality traits should be taken into account in the analysis of changes in subjective well-being over time in order to achieve more reliable estimates.