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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2005-15
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  1. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
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  8. Gruber Jonathan H & Mullainathan Sendhil, 2005. "Do Cigarette Taxes Make Smokers Happier," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, July.
  9. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Is there a Daily Discount Rate? Evidence from the Food Stamp Nutrition Cycle," Microeconomics 0304005, EconWPA, revised 21 Apr 2003.
  10. 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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  20. repec:ese:iserwp:2001-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
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