This paper is an attempt to translate empirically some of the categorizations of human development reviewed by Alkire (2002). It compares the estimates of human development obtained on the basis of Sen's (1985) capability approach, Narayan et al.'s (2000) dimensions of well-being, Cummins (1996) domains of life satisfaction and Allardt's (1993) comparative Scandinavian welfare study. To obtain these estimates of human development use is made of techniques developed in efficiency analysis, an approach rarely applied to the study of consumption and standards of living (see, however, Lovell et al., 1994). Our database is the British Household Panel Survey. Our findings vindicate the multi-dimensional approach to human development but show a great empirical resemblance between the four conceptual approaches to well-being.