Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseeable Technological Mistake

45 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2011  

Stefan Bauernschuster

University of Passau - Business Administration and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Oliver Falck

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 13, 2011

Abstract

'Does the Internet undermine social capital or facilitate inter-personal and civic engagement in the real world? Merging unique telecommunication data with geo-coded German individual-level data, we investigate how broadband Internet affects several dimensions of social capital. One identification strategy uses panel information to estimate value-added models. A second exploits a quasi-experiment in East Germany created by a mistaken technology choice of the state-owned telecommunication provider in the 1990s that still hinders broadband Internet access for many households. We find no evidence that the Internet reduces social capital. For some measures including children’s social activities, we even find significant positive effects.'

Keywords: internet, social capital

JEL Classification: Z13, J24

Suggested Citation

Bauernschuster, Stefan and Falck, Oliver and Woessmann, Ludger, Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseeable Technological Mistake (July 13, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1914247 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1914247

Stefan Bauernschuster (Contact Author)

University of Passau - Business Administration and Economics ( email )

University of Passau
Innstrasse 27
D-94030 Passau
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 81679
Germany

Oliver Falck

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich, 81679
Germany

Ludger Woessmann

Ifo Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich
Germany
++49 89 9224 1699 (Phone)
++49 89 9224 1460 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de/link/woessmann_l.htm

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Munich - Ifo Institute for Economic Research

Schackstr. 4
Munich, 80539
Germany

Register to support our free research

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
55
rank
190,562
Abstract Views
466
PlumX