Tiraferri A., Zoli C. (2005)

The evaluation of well-being in the functioning-capability space: a new criterion based on refined functionings. XVII Conferenza Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica



It is generally agreed that the identification of income wealth does not provide all the relevant information needed to evaluate the quality of life: income is but one component of overall individual wellbeing. Latest economic contributions focus on the multidimensional nature of well-being taking into account a number of life dimensions further than income (e.g. health conditions, educational attainments). Moreover, as recently argued, freedom of choice plays a relevant role in the definition of quality of life. Which criterion could be the most appropriate to allow for the multidimensional nature of well-being? Can freedom of choice be included in such a comprehensive evaluation? This paper concerns a re-examination of the notion of well-being within the functioning-capability approach proposed by A.K. Sen. Following Sen’s framework we re-define the value of achieved functionings in a way that takes note of alternative opportunities. We make operative a freedom-of-choice based refinement procedure by partitioning the population into different groups, homogeneous in some discriminating objective characteristic (e.g. age, sex, location). Our aim is to test whether the fact of showing a certain attribute poses an objective limit to a person’s opportunity to reach or exceed a given value of a functioning.