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Watching alone: Relational Goods, Television and Happiness

  • Luigino Bruni


    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Luca Stanca


    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

This paper discusses the role of relational goods and television viewing for individual happiness. Using individual data from the World Values Survey, we find evidence of a positive effect of rela- tionality on life satisfaction, and a negative effect of television viewing on relational activities. Both relationships are strongly significant and robust to the use of alternative indicators of relationality. The results are also robust to estimation by instrumental variables to deal with possible simultaneity. We interpret these findings as an indication that the pervasive and increasing role of television viewing in contem- porary society, through its crowding out effect on relational activities, contributes to the explanation of the income-happiness paradox.

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Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 90.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision: Jun 2005
Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:90
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  1. Meier, Stephan & Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," IZA Discussion Papers 1045, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bruni, Luigino, 2004. "The “Technology of Happiness” and the Tradition of Economic Science," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(01), pages 19-44, March.
  5. Frey, Bruno S. & Benesch, Christine & Stutzer, Alois, 2007. "Does watching TV make us happy?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 283-313, June.
  6. 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).
  7. David Neumark & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Relative Income Concerns and the Rise in Married Women's Employment," NBER Working Papers 5044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Corneo, Giacomo, 2001. "Work and Television," IZA Discussion Papers 376, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  10. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  11. Thomas E. Borcherding & Darren Filson, . "Group Consumption, Free Riding, and Informal Reciprocity Agreements," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-01, Claremont Colleges.
  12. 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.
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