Does the Internet Make People Happier?

40 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2011

See all articles by Thierry Pénard

Thierry Pénard

Université de Rennes 1 - Faculte de Sciences Economiques; Armorican Mole for Research on the Information Society and Uses of the Internet; Centre de Recherche en Économie et Management (CREM)

Nicolas Poussing

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER); CREM

Raphaël Suire

University of Nantes - LEMNA

Date Written: August 29, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Internet, happiness, well-being, digital divide, social capital, social values

JEL Classification: A12, D12, D6, H4, L86, Z13

Suggested Citation

Pénard, Thierry and Poussing, Nicolas and Suire, Raphael, Does the Internet Make People Happier? (August 29, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1918937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1918937

Thierry Pénard

Université de Rennes 1 - Faculte de Sciences Economiques ( email )

7, Place Hoche
35000 Rennes
France

Armorican Mole for Research on the Information Society and Uses of the Internet ( email )

France

Centre de Recherche en Économie et Management (CREM) ( email )

7 place Hoche
Rennes, Bretagne 35065
France

Nicolas Poussing

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) ( email )

11, Porte des Sciences
Campus Belval – Maison des Sciences Humaines
Esch-sur-Alzette, L-4366
Luxembourg

HOME PAGE: http://www.liser.lu

CREM ( email )

7 place Hoche
Rennes, Bretagne 35065
France

Raphael Suire (Contact Author)

University of Nantes - LEMNA ( email )

Nantes, 44000
France

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