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Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness

  • Bruni, Luigino
  • Stanca, Luca

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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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Thomas E. Borcherding & Darren Filson, . "Group Consumption, Free Riding, and Informal Reciprocity Agreements," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-01, Claremont Colleges.
  2. Meier, Stephan & Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," IZA Discussion Papers 1045, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2014. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 937-956, August.
  10. Neumark, David & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "Relative income concerns and the rise in married women's employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 157-183, October.
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  12. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism - Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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