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Does access to information technology make people happier? Insights from well-being surveys from around the world

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  • Graham, Carol
  • Nikolova, Milena
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    Abstract

    We explore the relationship between access to cell phones, TV, and the internet and subjective well-being worldwide, using pooled cross-sectional data from the Gallup World Poll for 2009–2011. We find that technology access is positive for well-being in general, but with diminishing marginal returns for those who already have much access. Moreover, we find signs of increased stress and anger among cohorts for whom access to the technologies is new. We also explore whether increased financial inclusion – through cell phones and mobile banking – has additional effects on well-being in Sub-Saharan Africa. We show that well-being levels are higher in the countries with higher levels of access to mobile banking, but so are stress and anger. Our findings are in line with earlier research, which shows that while development raises aggregate levels of well-being in the long run, high levels of frustration often accompany the process.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 44 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 126-139

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:44:y:2013:i:c:p:126-139

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

    Related research

    Keywords: Subjective well-being; Technology access; Financial inclusion; Cell phones; Internet;

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    References

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    1. Christine Benesch & Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2006. "TV Channels, Self Control and Happiness," IEW - Working Papers 301, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Paul Dolan & Georgios Kavetsos, 2012. "Happy Talk: Mode of Administration Effects on Subjective Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1159, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Isaac Mbiti & David N. Weil, 2011. "Mobile Banking: The Impact of M-Pesa in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 17129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Labonne, Julien & Chase, Robert S., 2009. "The power of information : the impact of mobile phones on farmers'welfare in the Philippines," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4996, The World Bank.
    5. Choi, Changkyu & Hoon Yi, Myung, 2009. "The effect of the Internet on economic growth: Evidence from cross-country panel data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 39-41, October.
    6. Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, . "Does watching TV make us happy?," IEW - Working Papers 241, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    7. Litan, Robert & Rivlin, Alice, 2001. "Projecting the economic impact of the Internet," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 2, pages 35-41.
    8. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora, 2012. "Measuring financial inclusion : the Global Findex Database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6025, The World Bank.
    9. Koutroumpis, Pantelis, 2009. "The economic impact of broadband on growth: A simultaneous approach," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 471-485, October.
    10. C. Graham & S. Pettinato, 2002. "Frustrated Achievers: Winners, Losers and Subjective Well-Being in New Market Economies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 100-140.
    11. Dolan, Paul & Metcalfe, Robert, 2012. "The relationship between innovation and subjective wellbeing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1489-1498.
    12. Nina Czernich & Oliver Falck & Tobias Kretschmer & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Broadband Infrastructure and Economic Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2861, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Röller, Lars-Hendrik & Waverman, Leonard, 2000. "Telecommunications Infrastructure And Economic Development: A Simultaneous Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 2399, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-32, Summer.
    15. Kavetsos, Georgios & Koutroumpis, Pantelis, 2011. "Technological affluence and subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 742-753.
    16. Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Working Papers 211, Center for Global Development.
    17. Hirschman, Albert O & Rothschild, Michael, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic Development; with a Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-66, November.
    18. Muto, Megumi & Yamano, Takashi, 2009. "The Impact of Mobile Phone Coverage Expansion on Market Participation: Panel Data Evidence from Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 1887-1896, December.
    19. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
    20. Carol Graham, 2005. "Insights on Development from the Economics of Happiness," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 201-231.
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    Cited by:
    1. Dr Richard Dorsett, 2014. "Human well-being and in-work benefits: a randomized controlled trial," NIESR Discussion Papers 11791, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    2. repec:cge:warwcg:182 is not listed on IDEAS

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