There is a common presumption, especially in economics, that people are better off when they can satisfy their preferences and desires. Thus, it is concluded that it is possible to measure people's well-being by measuring how well they satisfy their preferences and what they are willing to pay in order to do so. But is this reasonable?
You raise an interesting question. I don't have any empirical data at my disposal, but I would hazard that there is indeed some connection between the ability to obtain what one wants and one's overall well-being. Clearly, however, there are many exceptions to this rule. The problem--and it's a problem endemic to economics as a discipline--is that what people want is not always rational even to the people themselves. Economists operate on the assumption that people act rationally, or at least according to self-interest, but that premise is demonstrably false in many cases. Witness the raft of working-class Americans who vote Republican. Indeed, many voters who pulled the lever for Bush in 2004 regretted their decision a short while later.