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Does Watching TV Make Us Happy?

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Author Info

  • 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. Frey, Bruno S. & Stutzer, Alois, 2013. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," IZA Discussion Papers 7430, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. George Loewenstein, Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Economics Working Papers, University of California at Berkeley E00-284, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Giacomo Corneo, 2002. "Work and Television," CESifo Working Paper Series 829, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. 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, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1043-1077, November.
  5. Gruber Jonathan H & Mullainathan Sendhil, 2005. "Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, July.
  6. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  7. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
  8. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
  9. Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
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  11. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  12. L. J. Shrum & James E. Burroughs & Aric Rindfleisch, 2005. "Television's Cultivation of Material Values," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 473-479, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Value Surveys," Working Papers, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics 89, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  15. Gershuny, Jonathan, 2000. "Changing Times: Work and Leisure in Postindustrial Society," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287872, October.
  16. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Addiction and Present-Biased Preferences," Game Theory and Information, EconWPA 0303005, EconWPA.
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  18. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Job Search and Impatience," NBER Working Papers 10837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Shapiro, Jesse M., 2005. "Is there a daily discount rate? Evidence from the food stamp nutrition cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 303-325, February.
  21. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  22. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  23. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. 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.
  25. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
  26. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  27. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 278-94, 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
  6. Uses of illiteracy
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-09-10 13:58:00
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