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Does Watching TV Make Us Happy?

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Christine Benesch
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

The paper studies a major human activity ? that of watching TV - where many individuals have incomplete control over, and foresight into, their own behavior. As a consequence, they watch more TV than they consider optimal for themselves and their well-being is lower than what could be achieved. Mainly people with significant opportunity costs of time regret the amount of time spent watching TV. They report lower subjective well-being when watching TV for many hours. For others, there is no negative effect on life satisfaction from watching TV. Long hours spent in front of a TV are linked to higher material aspirations and anxiety and therewith lower life satisfaction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2005-15.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2005-15

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Related research

Keywords: Life satisfaction; mispredicting utility; revealed behavior; self-control problem; TV consumption;

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References

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  1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. L. J. Shrum & James E. Burroughs & Aric Rindfleisch, 2005. "Television's Cultivation of Material Values," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 473-479, December.
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  8. Giacomo Corneo, 2002. "Work and Television," CESifo Working Paper Series 829, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. George-Marios Angeletos, 2001. "The Hyberbolic Consumption Model: Calibration, Simulation, and Empirical Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 47-68, Summer.
  10. George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Projection Bias In Predicting Future Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1209-1248, November.
  11. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  12. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences," Game Theory and Information 0303005, EconWPA.
  13. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2009. "Time-Inconsistency And Welfare Program Participation: Evidence From The Nlsy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1043-1077, November.
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  16. O'Guinn, Thomas C & Shrum, L J, 1997. " The Role of Television in the Construction of Consumer Reality," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 278-94, March.
  17. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2006. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 209-225, 05.
  18. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Shapiro, Jesse M., 2005. "Is there a daily discount rate? Evidence from the food stamp nutrition cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 303-325, February.
  20. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "Job Search and Impatience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 527-588, July.
  21. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Gershuny, Jonathan, 2000. "Changing Times: Work and Leisure in Postindustrial Society," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287872, Octomber.
  23. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  24. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  25. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  26. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
  27. Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Jeremy Kyle & revealed preference
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-02-23 12:55:14
  2. TV & happiness
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-12-18 14:30:34
  3. Consumption deskilling & utility
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-03-01 14:36:46
  4. Diversifying mental states
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-02-02 13:39:27
  5. Incomes & satisfaction
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-07-06 12:53:41
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