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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruni, Luigino & Stanca, Luca, 2008. "Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 506-528, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:65:y:2008:i:3-4:p:506-528
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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