Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey

17 Pages Posted: 8 May 2006

See all articles by Luigino Bruni

Luigino Bruni

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS)

Luca Stanca

University of Milan, Bicocca - Department of Economics; Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS)

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of television in producing higher material aspirations, by enhancing both adaptation and positional effects. Using a large sample of individuals from the World Values Survey, we find that the effect of income on both life and financial satisfaction is significantly smaller for heavy television viewers than for occasional viewers. This finding is robust to a number of specification checks and alternative interpretations. The results suggest an additional explanation for the income-happiness paradox: the pervasive and increasing role of television viewing in contemporary society, by raising material aspirations, contributes to offset the effect of higher income on individual happiness.

Suggested Citation

Bruni, Luigino and Stanca, Luca, Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey. Kyklos, Vol. 59, No. 2, pp. 209-225, May 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=898252 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6435.2006.00325.x

Luigino Bruni (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milano, 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

Luca Stanca

University of Milan, Bicocca - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo, Nuovo I
Milan 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milano, 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

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