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Does Watching TV Make Us Happy?

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Christine Benesch
  • Alois Stutzer

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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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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  1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2013. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 564, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
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  3. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-01 is not listed on IDEAS
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  20. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
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  24. Gershuny, Jonathan, 2000. "Changing Times: Work and Leisure in Postindustrial Society," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287872, March.
  25. 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.
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  27. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
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