Social Indicators Research vol:106 issue:1 pages:133-152
This paper examines the potential of self-reported information on capabilities as an alternative indicator and aggregator for well-being. We survey a population of 18 year old first-year Bachelor students in applied economics and business studies and demonstrate a way in which capabilities can be measured on the level of life domains as well as on the general level of ‘life as a whole’. The data confirm the theoretical hypothesis that the set of capabilities is larger than the achieved functionings. We investigate and compare which variables influence general capabilities and satisfaction with life. We find that both concepts are equally depending on the ‘mood of the day’. On the other hand, we find some diverging influences that call for a debate on the (policy) relevance of different well-being concepts and their determining variables. The capabilities interpretation of well-being points to an important role of the parents (especially when they are divorced or rather strict) while the information on satisfaction is more related to personal and situational characteristics (such as not being single or the number of family visits).