01 April 2010
The goal of this paper is to compare different measures of pensioner well-being across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Having appraised various approaches to conceptualising and measuring the well-being of pensioners, Sen’s (1992) capability approach stands out as a novel and theoretically appealing way to obtain additional insights into the well-being of pensioners living across the United Kingdom. Pensioners’ well-being is therefore compared across these countries in terms of various attained outcomes and proxies for capabilities. The results highlight that wider measures of pensioners’ welfare provide a more comprehensive picture. For example, although pensioners in England are found to have the highest average income, their wider well-being is not consistently above that of their peers in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. This research suggest that studies using income as the only proxy for pensioners’ well-being provide a partial picture and should be complemented with non-monetary measures for a more comprehensive evidence base.