Technological Affluence and Happiness (Everything Except TV is Good)

In a study prob­ing the asso­ci­ation between ‘tech­no­lo­gic­al afflu­ence’ and gen­er­al well-being it was found that com­puters, mobile phones and music play­ers increased self-repor­ted levels of hap­pi­ness, while tele­vi­sion own­er­ship decreased it.

That is: the own­er­ship of most mod­ern tech­no­lo­gic­al goods makes us happy, except for tele­vi­sions, which make us sad.

Using self-repor­ted life sat­is­fac­tion as a meas­ure of sub­ject­ive well-being we find that a fixed phone, a mobile phone, a com­pact disk play­er, a com­puter and an Inter­net con­nec­tion are all asso­ci­ated with high­er levels of well-being, where­as tele­vi­sion sets are asso­ci­ated with lower levels. We fur­ther provide evid­ence sug­gest­ing that the level of mobile and broad­band pen­et­ra­tion mat­ters for life sat­is­fac­tion as well. Our estim­ates indic­ate that, at a min­im­um, an indi­vidu­al requires a 10% increase in GDP per cap­ita as com­pens­a­tion to [cease] hold­ing these products. Fur­ther implic­a­tions sug­gest that increas­ing mobile pen­et­ra­tion by 10% has lim­ited effects on implied GDP per cap­ita, con­trary to a sim­il­ar increase in broad­band pen­et­ra­tion.

via Tim Har­ford