Beyond the grumpy rich man and the happy peasant: mixed methods and the impact of food security on subjective dimensions of wellbeing in India

Sarah C. White, Antonia Fernandez, Shreya Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper responds to the recent advocacy of subjective wellbeing in policy assessment with an investigation of food security in rural Chhattisgarh, India, 2010-13. Conceptually, it suggests the need to move beyond a primary focus on happiness to consider a broader based investigation into people’s subjective perceptions. In particular, it introduces a multi-domain model with some affinities to the capability approach, which asks what people think and feel themselves able to be and do. Methodologically, it suggests that the primary reliance on quantitative measures should be complemented by more qualitative approaches to give a more rounded appreciation of how people view their lives. Three approaches are presented: qualitative analysis of interview text; statistical analysis comparing a single measure of happiness with a broader, domain-based approach; and mixed qualitative and quantitative data generated from an individual case.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-348
JournalOxford Development Studies
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Subjective wellbeing (SWB)
  • India
  • Food security
  • Mixed methods

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