Internet Use and Social Capital: The Strength of Virtual Ties

30 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2005 Last revised: 30 Jul 2014

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

Date Written: October 12, 9

Abstract

This paper aims to understand how Internet users may improve their social capital by investing in online social activities. We argue that the Internet can be a convenient and efficient means of maintaining existing social ties and/or of creating new ties. We seek to identify the determinants of online investments in social capital and the nature of the interaction with traditional forms of investment in social capital. Using a Luxembourg household survey, the econometric results reveal a significant positive impact of volunteer activities and trust (two measures of social capital) on online investments to maintain social capital, but more ambiguous results are found between online investments and face-to-face contacts with friends. By contrast, online investments to create new ties are poorly related to the Internet users’ existing social capital, but depend on the opportunity cost of time.

Keywords: Social capital, investment, Internet use, strong ties, weak ties

JEL Classification: L86, Z13, D12

Suggested Citation

Pénard, Thierry and Poussing, Nicolas, Internet Use and Social Capital: The Strength of Virtual Ties (October 12, 9). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=760084 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.760084

Thierry Pénard (Contact Author)

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

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