Working Paper
Well-being and the Complexity of Poverty

A Subjective Well-being Approach

This investigation studies human well-being from a subjective well-being approach. On the basis of a Mexican database the investigation shows that there is a weak relationship between subjective well-being and indicators of well-being such as income and consumption. Therefore, subjective well-being provides additional useful information to study human well-being and, in consequence, poverty. Three reasons for the existence of a weak relationship are studied: First, the fact that a person is much more than a consumer; second, the role of heterogeneity in human perceptions; and third, the existence of heterogeneity in purposes of life. The understanding and abatement of poverty would be better served by a concept of human well-being which incorporates subjective well-being indicators and which is based on the wholeness and complexity of human beings.