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Does watching TV make us happy?

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Christine Benesch
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "Does watching TV make us happy?," IEW - Working Papers 241, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:241
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp241.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life satisfaction; mispredicting utility; revealed behavior; self-control problem; TV consumption;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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