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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. Isaac Mbiti & David N. Weil, 2011. "Mobile Banking: The Impact of M-Pesa in Kenya," Working Papers 2011-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Czernich, Nina & Falck, Oliver & Kretschmer, Tobias & Wößmann, Ludger, 2011. "Broadband Infrastructure and Economic Growth," Munich Reprints in Economics 20033, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Robert E. Litan & Alice M. Rivlin, 2001. "Projecting the Economic Impact of the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 313-317, May.
    5. Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Working Papers 211, Center for Global Development.
    6. Frey, Bruno S. & Benesch, Christine & Stutzer, Alois, 2007. "Does watching TV make us happy?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 283-313, June.
    7. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora, 2012. "Measuring financial inclusion : the Global Findex Database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6025, The World Bank.
    8. Lars-Hendrik Roller & Leonard Waverman, 2001. "Telecommunications Infrastructure and Economic Development: A Simultaneous Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 909-923, September.
    9. Carol Graham, 2005. "Insights on Development from the Economics of Happiness," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(2), pages 201-231.
    10. Kavetsos, Georgios & Koutroumpis, Pantelis, 2011. "Technological affluence and subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 742-753.
    11. Benesch Christine & Frey Bruno S. & Stutzer Alois, 2010. "TV Channels, Self-Control and Happiness," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-35, September.
    12. 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.
    13. Koutroumpis, Pantelis, 2009. "The economic impact of broadband on growth: A simultaneous approach," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 471-485, October.
    14. Dolan, Paul & Metcalfe, Robert, 2012. "The relationship between innovation and subjective wellbeing," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1489-1498.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Paul Dolan & Georgios Kavetsos, 2012. "Happy talk: mode of administration effects on subjective well-being," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 45273, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
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    Cited by:
    1. Dorsett, Richard & Oswald, Andrew J., 2014. "Human well-being and in-work benefits: A randomized controlled trial," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 182, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. repec:cge:warwcg:182 is not listed on IDEAS

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