Does Watching TV Make Us Happy?
IEW Working Paper No. 241
43 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2005
Date Written: May 2005
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.
Keywords: Life satisfaction, mispredicting utility, revealed behavior, self-control problem, TV consumption
JEL Classification: D12, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation