•We use a novel survey with comprehensive measures of human development in Chile.•We study the relationship between agency, human dignity, and subjective wellbeing accounting for personality traits.•The effect of agency and shame on life satisfaction is comparable to that of income.•We discuss policies to advance agency, and reduce shame and discrimination.•The role of policies that shape stigmatization and group boundaries is emphasized.
World Development – Elsevier
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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