Connecting Alone: Smartphone Use, Quality of Social Interactions and Well-Being

22 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2017

See all articles by Valentina Rotondi

Valentina Rotondi

Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics

Luca Stanca

University of Milan, Bicocca - Department of Economics; Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS); Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS)

Miriam Tomasuolo

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan

Date Written: January 3, 2017

Abstract

This paper investigates the role played by the smartphone for the quality of social interactions and subjective well-being. We argue that the intrusiveness of the smartphone reduces the quality of face-to-face interactions and their positive impact on well-being. We test this hypothesis in a large and representative sample of Italian individuals. We find that time spent with friends is worth less, in terms of subjective well-being, for individuals who use the smartphone. This finding is robust to the use of alternative empirical specifications or instrumental variables to deal with possible endogeneity. In addition, consistent with the hypothesis that the smartphone undermines the quality of face-to-face interactions, the positive association between time spent with friends and satisfaction with friends is less strong for individuals who use the smartphone.

Keywords: Smartphone, Social interactions, Subjective well-being

JEL Classification: A12; I31; O33

Suggested Citation

Rotondi, Valentina and Stanca, Luca and Tomasuolo, Miriam, Connecting Alone: Smartphone Use, Quality of Social Interactions and Well-Being (January 3, 2017). University of Milan Bicocca Department of Economics, Management and Statistics Working Paper No. 357. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2893027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2893027

Valentina Rotondi

Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Luca Stanca (Contact Author)

University of Milan, Bicocca - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo, Nuovo I
Milan 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milano, 20126
Italy

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Department of Economics, Management and Statistics (DEMS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milan, 20126
Italy

Miriam Tomasuolo

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan ( email )

Largo Gemelli, 1
Via Necchi 9
Milan, MI 20123
Italy

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