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TV Channels, Self Control and Happiness

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  • Christine Benesch
  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

In many countries, TV viewers have access to more and more TV channels. We study whether people can cope with this and watch the amount of TV they find optimal for themselves or whether they are prone to over-consumption. We find that heavy TV viewers do not benefit, but instead report lower life satisfaction when exposed to more TV channels. This finding runs counter to the standard economic prediction that a larger choice set does not make people worse off. It suggests that an identifiable group of persons experience a self-control problem when it comes to TV viewing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 301.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:301

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Keywords: Self-control; over-consumption; life satisfaction; experienced utility; TV viewing;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Andrea Prat & David Strömberg, 2006. "Commercial Television and Voter Information," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000363, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Jeremy Tobacman & Paige Skiba, 2005. "Payday Loans, Consumption Shocks, and Discounting," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005, Society for Computational Economics 189, Society for Computational Economics.
  4. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  5. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "Testing Theories of Happiness," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 147, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2006. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 209-225, 05.
  7. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study," NBER Working Papers 12021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "What can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 080, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Watching alone: Relational Goods, Television and Happiness," Working Papers, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics 90, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  10. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Affective Forecasting and Optimal Environmental Behaviour
    by Liam Delaney in Geary Behaviour Centre on 2010-12-30 15:11:00
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Cited by:
  1. Reto Odermatt & Alois Stutzer, 2013. "Smoking Bans, Cigarette Prices and Life Satisfaction," Working papers, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel 2013/07, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  2. Graham, Carol & Nikolova, Milena, 2013. "Does access to information technology make people happier? Insights from well-being surveys from around the world," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 126-139.
  3. Stutzer, Alois, 2007. "Limited Self-Control, Obesity and the Loss of Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 2925, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Maurizio Pugno, 2011. "Scitovsky and the income-happiness paradox," Working Papers, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche 2011-07, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
  5. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2010. "Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 4850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2012. "Happier and less isolated: internet use in old age," MPRA Paper 42546, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00566139 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Shmuel Nitzan & Kobi Kriesler, 2010. "The Effect of Limited Search Ability on the Quality of Competitive Rent-Seeking Clubs," Working Papers, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics 2010-06, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  9. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2007. "Impatience and credit behavior: evidence from a field experiment," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 07-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  10. Juncal Cuñado & Fernando Gracia, 2012. "Does Education Affect Happiness? Evidence for Spain," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 108(1), pages 185-196, August.
  11. Marco Gui & Luca Stanca, 2009. "Television Viewing, Satisfaction and Happiness: Facts and Fiction," Working Papers, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics 167, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2009.

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