Studying Well-being and its Environmental Impacts: A Case Study of Minimum Income Receivers in Finland

Tuuli Hirvilammi, Senja Laakso, Michael Lettenmeier, Satu Lähteenoja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Current well-being research often overlooks human dependency on natural resources and undervalues the way environmental impacts affect human activities. This article argues that the capability approach provides an applicable framework for inquiring into ecologically sustainable well-being. Therefore, this pilot study aims to develop a research method for integrating the measurement of natural resource use with capability-based well-being research. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 18 Finnish minimum income receivers and their natural resource use (material footprints) was measured in five central functionings by using the Material Input Per Unit of Service (MIPS) method. The connections between capabilities, functionings and material footprints are interpreted from a person-centered perspective in order to explain the individual variety in material footprints. The results show that the material footprints of minimum income receivers are smaller than with an average Finn but they still exceed what is estimated to be an ecologically sustainable level of natural resource use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-154
Number of pages21
JournalJOURNAL OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND CAPABILITIES
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Well-being
  • Capability approach
  • Material footprint
  • Material Input Per Unit of Service (MIPS)
  • Minimum income
  • CAPABILITY APPROACH
  • PREFERENCES
  • DEPRIVATION
  • POVERTY
  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • 5142 Social policy

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