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Social Capital and the Internet: Evidence from Swiss Panel Data

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  • Axel Franzen

Abstract

A lively debate has recently emerged about the consequences of the diffusion of the Internet. While many social scientists emphasize the beneficial economic consequences of the Internet some suspect that it has also disadvantages for users’ social capital. So far the existing empirical evidence concerning the effect on social capital is mainly based on cross‐sectional data and is still contradictory. This study is based on a longitudinal survey conducted in 1998 and 2001 among a random sample of Swiss citizens. It analyzes the determinants of the adoption of the Internet and the consequences for respondents’ personal networks as well as the time they spent socializing with their network. The results show that the Internet was adopted sooner by individuals with high financial, human and social capital. Furthermore, the results suggest that Internet use is not associated with a reduction in respondents’ networks or with the time they spent socializing with friends. Instead the findings suggest that the time users devote to the Internet is taken away from the time they spend on watching television.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Franzen, 2003. "Social Capital and the Internet: Evidence from Swiss Panel Data," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 341-360, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:56:y:2003:i:3:p:341-360
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0023-5962.2003.00224.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Woessmann, Ludger, 2014. "Surfing alone? The internet and social capital: Evidence from an unforeseeable technological mistake," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 73-89.
    2. Alexandre Mayol & Thierry Pénard, 2017. "Facebook use and individual well-being: Like me to make me happier!," Revue d'économie industrielle, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(2), pages 101-127.
    3. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2012. "See you on Facebook! A framework for analyzing the role of computer-mediated interaction in the evolution of social capital," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 541-547.
    4. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2012. "The Solaria syndrome: Social capital in a growing hyper-technological economy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 802-814.
    5. Stefan Bauernschuster & Oliver Falck & Ludger Wößmann, 2011. "Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseen Technological Mistake," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 392, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Pénard, Thierry & Poussing, Nicolas & Suire, Raphaël, 2013. "Does the Internet make people happier?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 105-116.
    7. Angelo Antoci & Fabio Sabatini & Mauro Sodini, 2014. "Bowling alone but tweeting together: the evolution of human interaction in the social networking era," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1911-1927, July.
    8. Fiona Scott Morton, 2006. "Consumer Benefit from Use of the Internet," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 67-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Thierry PENARD & Nicolas POUSSING & Gabriel ZOMO YEBE & Philémon NSI ELLA, 2012. "Comparing the Determinants of Internet and Cell Phone Use in Africa: Evidence from Gabon," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(86), pages 65-83, 2nd quart.
    10. Jain, Rekha, 2016. "Measuring the Perceived Impact of Internet on Individuals in Rural India," IIMA Working Papers WP2016-03-61, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    11. repec:eee:tefoso:v:139:y:2019:i:c:p:99-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. PENARD Thierry & POUSSING Nicolas & MUKOKO Blaise & TAMOKWE Georges Bertrand, 2013. "Internet adoption and usage patterns in Africa: Evidence from Cameroon," LISER Working Paper Series 2013-22, LISER.
    13. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:308-325 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Fulvio Castellacci & Henrik Schwabe, 2018. "Internet Use and the U-shaped relationship between Age and Well-being," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20180215, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

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