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Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Value Surveys

Luigino Bruni () and Luca Stanca ()

No 89, Working Papers from University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper argues that television viewing produces higher material aspirations, by enhancing both adaptation and positional effects, thus lowering the effect of income on life satisfaction. Using individual data from the World Values Survey we present evidence indicating that the effect of income on both life and financial satisfaction is significantly smaller for heavy television viewers, relative to occasional viewers. This finding is robust to a number of specification checks and alternative interpretations. Overall, the results can be interpreted as providing an additional explanation for the income-happiness paradox: the pervasive and increasing role of television viewing in people’s life, by raising material aspirations, reduces the effect of income on individual happiness.

Keywords: subjective well-being; TV consumption; aspiration level (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A12 D12 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-06, Revised 2005-06
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Journal Article: Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey (2006) Downloads
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