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Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness

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  • Bruni, Luigino
  • Stanca, Luca

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of relational goods for subjective well-being. Using a large sample of individuals from the World Values Survey, we find that relational goods have a significant effect on life satisfaction, while television viewing plays a key role in crowding-out relationality. Both results are robust to the use of alternative indicators of relationality and to instrumental variable estimation to deal with possible simultaneity. The findings suggest that the relational treadmill can provide an additional explanation of the income-happiness paradox: the effect of higher income on happiness is offset by lower consumption of relational goods, with television playing a significant role in explaining underconsumption of relationality.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 65 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (March)
Pages: 506-528

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:65:y:2008:i:3-4:p:506-528

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  1. Corneo, Giacomo, 2001. "Work and Television," IZA Discussion Papers 376, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Frey, Bruno S. & Stutzer, Alois, 2013. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," IZA Discussion Papers 7430, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. David Neumark & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Relative Income Concerns and the Rise in Married Women's Employment," NBER Working Papers 5044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, . "Does watching TV make us happy?," IEW - Working Papers 241, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, . "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," IEW - Working Papers 180, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  7. Borcherding, Thomas E. & Filson, Darren, 2002. "Group consumption, free-riding, and informal reciprocity agreements," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 237-257, March.
  8. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Value Surveys," Working Papers 89, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2006. "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism - Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  10. Bruni, Luigino, 2004. "The “Technology of Happiness” and the Tradition of Economic Science," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(01), pages 19-44, March.
  11. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
  12. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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