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TV Channels, Self-Control And Happiness

Christine Benesch, Bruno S. Frey, Alois Stutzer

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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.