A Capabilities Approach to Housing and Quality of Life: The Evidence from Germany

Coates, Dermot; Anand, Paul and Norris, Michelle (2015). A Capabilities Approach to Housing and Quality of Life: The Evidence from Germany. Open Discussion Papers in Economics 78; Economics Department, The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00015ea6


The capabilities approach developed by Sen (1985) and others has been highly influential in development circles and is increasingly being thought of as a theoretical framework suitable for understanding and measuring quality of life issues in high income contexts (Anand et al (2009), EU (2009)). In this paper, we contribute to a growing literature that draws on the approach to help understand connections between housing and quality of life. Specifically, we explore whether a broad range of capabilities and activities associated with housing have a detectable impact on housing satisfaction, and whether housing satisfaction contributes to overall life satisfaction. Our results indicate that housing satisfaction is indeed related to overall life satisfaction and that a wide range of different kinds of variables appear to impact housing satisfaction itself. The paper concludes by suggesting its findings underline the fact that a holistic view of housing policies needs to be taken if such policies are to make a full contribution to improved quality of life.

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