Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 167–189 | Cite as

Multidimensional Poverty Index and Happiness

Research Paper


In recent years, income concepts have been criticized for being too narrow to capture human well-being. The broader “objective” capability approach and subjective well-being analyses have been highlighted as most prominent approaches which allow for well-being assessments beyond income. Recently, a combination of the capability and of the subjective well-being approach has been recommended to strengthen well-being analyses. Our paper further explores the relations of both approaches. Based upon micro data covering more than 2300 individuals from four villages in rural Karnataka (India), the paper empirically analyses to which degree objective capability deprivation reflected by the United Nations Development Programme’s Multidimensional Poverty Index coincides with reduced happiness. We find positive correlations between Multidimensional Poverty Index deprivation and lack of happiness for some dimensions; otherwise the correlation is weak for the majority of Multidimensional Poverty Index indicators. Our results suggest that “relativity” towards other villagers is crucial for happiness. Moreover, from a happiness perspective our findings show the necessity to integrate financial deprivation indicators and further “missing dimensions” of deprivation into the Multidimensional Poverty Index. Furthermore, it may be fruitful to measure multidimensional poverty on a household and individual level.


Happiness Multidimensional Poverty Index India Well-being 

JEL Classification

D10 I30 I32 



The paper uses micro-level household and individual data generated within an independent scientific evaluation of the “BayerCrop Science Model Village Project (MVP)”. Survey costs are funded by Bayer CropScience. The authors are independent in their research and have no conflict of interest. We thank two anonymous referees for their valuable comments. All remaining errors are our own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pforzheim UniversityPforzheimGermany

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