TV Channels, Self-Control and Happiness

Christine Benesch 1 , 1 , Bruno S. Frey 2 , 2 ,  and Alois Stutzer 3 , 3
  • 1 Harvard Kennedy School and CREMA, christine_benesch@hks.harvard.edu
  • 2 University of Zurich and CREMA, bsfrey@iew.uzh.ch
  • 3 University of Basel and CREMA, alois.stutzer@unibas.ch

Abstract

Standard economic theory suggests that more choice is usually better. We address this claim and investigate whether people can cope with the increasing number of television programs and watch the amount of TV they find optimal for themselves or whether they are prone to over-consumption. We find that heavy TV viewers do not benefit but instead report lower life satisfaction with access to more TV channels. This finding suggests that an identifiable group of individuals experiences a self-control problem when it comes to TV viewing.

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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (BEJEAP) is an international forum for scholarship that employs microeconomics to analyze issues in business, consumer behavior and public policy. Topics include the interaction of firms, the functioning of markets, the effects of domestic and international policy and the design of organizations and institutions.

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