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Bruni, L., Comim, F., Pugno, M. (2008). Capabilities and Happiness. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Few would dispute that the well-being of individuals is one of the most desirable aims of human actions. However, approaches on how to define, measure, evaluate, and promote well-being differ widely. The conventional economic approach takes income (or the power to acquire market goods) as the most important indicator for well-being, and the utility function as the formal device for positive and normative analysis. However, this approach to well-being has been questioned for being seriously limited and other approaches have arisen. The capability approach to well-being, which has been developed during the last two decades by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, and the Happiness Approach to well-being, championed by Richard Easterlin, both provide an alternative. Both approaches come from different traditions and have developed independently, but nevertheless aim to overcome the rigid boundaries of the conventional economic approach to well-being. Given these common aims, it is surprising that little comparative work has been undertaken across these approaches. This book aims to correct this by providing the reader with contributions from leading names associated with both approaches, as well as contributions which evaluate the approaches and contrast one with the other. Contributors to this volume - Sabine Alkire, Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative Erik Angner, University of Alabama Luigino Bruni, Milano-Bicocca Flavio Comim, St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge Edward L. Deci, University of Rochester Ed Diener, University of Illinois Richard Easterlin, University of Southern California Carol Graham, The Brookings Institution Johannes Hirata, Institute for Business Ethics of St. Gallen University Pelin Kesebir, University of Illinois Maurizio Pugno, University of Cassino Richard M. Ryan, University of Rochester Carol Ryff, University of Wisconsin-Madison Amartya Sen, Harvard University Burton H. Singer, Princeton University Robert Sugden, University of East Anglia Maarten Vansteenkiste, University of Leuven.


Bruni, Luigino

Comim, Flavio

Capability is about assessing human well being. We are using a capability approach to produce poverty / environment indicators, that is, tools for assessing the impact of projects on human well-being as well as the environment. Our Research Centre is based at St. Edmund's College, Cambridge,...

Pugno, Maurizio

Maurizio Pugno (M.Phil. in Economics, Cambridge, UK) is full-time professor in economics (Cassino University). He has recently taught at the Universities of Trento, Bicocca (Milan), and at the S.Anna School of Advanced Studies (Pisa). His fields of interests at CREAM are behavioural economics and...

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