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Does watching TV make us happy?

  • Frey, Bruno S.
  • Benesch, Christine
  • Stutzer, Alois

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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8H-4N25VPC-1/2/5675913a04f3b519b20e0f2c678ee863
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 28 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 283-313

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:28:y:2007:i:3:p:283-313
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2014. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 937-956, August.
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  5. Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2002. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Working Papers 02-11, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
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  15. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Value Surveys," Working Papers 89, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
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  25. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Hanming Fang & Dan Silverman, 2004. "Time-inconsistency and Welfare Program Participation: Evidence from the NLSY," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1465, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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