This article links primary research into the way subjective well-being among poor people can be defined and measured to the growing literature on poverty as a failure of capacity to aspire. Data from Bangladesh, Thailand and Peru are used to illustrate a measurement strategy based on defining well-being as a function of the gap between individuals’ diverse and multiple aspirations, and their satisfaction with achieving them. Such analysis has the potential to illuminate variation in individual and local capacity to respond to different development opportunities. It also warns against the limitations of treating aspirations as a single rather than a multidimensional concept.
- life goals
- Subjective well-being