Does the Internet Make People Happier?
Université de Rennes I - Faculte de Sciences Economiques; Université de Rennes I - Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM); Armorican Mole for Research on the Information Society and Uses of the Internet
Université de Rennes I - Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM); Armorican Mole for Research on the Information Society and Uses of the Internet
August 29, 2011
As people are spending more time online, it is important to evaluate the impact of Internet use on individual well-being. Internet use yields direct utility and economic returns (e.g. better job, higher productivity) that may increase life satisfaction. But the Internet might also have detrimental effects (addiction, social isolation, e.g.).
This paper empirically examines the relation between Internet use and subjective well-being. Using Luxemburgish data from a European social survey, we find evidence that non users are less satisfied in their life than Internet users. This result holds when we control for socio-demographic characteristics, social capital, values and beliefs, and health and income.
Moreover, the positive influence of Internet use is stronger for low income and young individuals. These findings suggest that public policy aiming to reduce the digital divide are socially desirable.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: Internet, happiness, well-being, digital divide, social capital, social values
JEL Classification: A12, D12, D6, H4, L86, Z13working papers series
Date posted: August 29, 2011
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