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Broadband Internet and social capital

Author

Listed:
  • Geraci, Andrea
  • Nardotto, Mattia
  • Reggiani, Tommaso
  • Sabatini, Fabio

Abstract

We study the impact of broadband penetration on social capital in the UK. Our empirical strategy exploits a technological feature of the telecommunication infrastructure that generated substantial variation in the quality of Internet access across households. The speed of a domestic connection rapidly decays with the distance of a user’s line from the network’s node serving the area. Merging information on the topology of the network with geocoded longitudinal data about individual social capital from 1997 to 2017, we show that access to fast Internet caused a significant decline in civic and political engagement. Overall, our results suggest that broadband penetration crowded out several dimensions of social capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Geraci, Andrea & Nardotto, Mattia & Reggiani, Tommaso & Sabatini, Fabio, 2022. "Broadband Internet and social capital," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 206(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:206:y:2022:i:c:s0047272721002140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2021.104578
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    Cited by:

    1. Amaral Garcia, Sofia & Nardotto, Mattia & Propper, Carol & Valletti, Tommaso, 2019. "Mums Go Online: Is the Internet Changing the Demand for Healthcare?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13625, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Antoci, Angelo & Bonelli, Laura & Paglieri, Fabio & Reggiani, Tommaso & Sabatini, Fabio, 2019. "Civility and trust in social media," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 83-99.
    3. Andrea Fazio & Francesco Scervini & Tommaso Reggiani, 2022. "Social media charity campaigns and pro-social behavior. Evidence from the Ice Bucket Challenge," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2022-09, Masaryk University.
    4. Guzi, Martin & Huber, Peter & Mikula, Stepan, 2019. "Old Sins Cast Long Shadows: The Long-Term Impact of the Resettlement of the Sudetenland on Residential Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 12536, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Pierfrancesco Rolla & Patricia Justino, 2022. "The social consequences of organized crime in Italy," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2022-106, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Kathrin Wernsdorf & Markus Nagler & Martin Watzinger, 2020. "ICT, Collaboration, and Science-Based Innovation: Evidence from BITNET," CESifo Working Paper Series 8646, CESifo.
    7. Becchetti, Leonardo & Salustri, Francesco & Solferino, Nazaria, 2022. "The new industrial revolution: The optimal choice for flexible work companies," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1087, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    8. Krčál, Ondřej & Peer, Stefanie & Staněk, Rostislav & Karlínová, Bára, 2019. "Real consequences matter: Why hypothetical biases in the valuation of time persist even in controlled lab experiments," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 20(C).
    9. Luigino Bruni & Vittorio Pelligra & Tommaso Reggiani & Matteo Rizzolli, 2020. "The Pied Piper: Prizes, Incentives, and Motivation Crowding-in," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 166(3), pages 643-658, October.
    10. Bayu Kharisma, 2022. "Surfing alone? The Internet and social capital: evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Economic Structures, Springer;Pan-Pacific Association of Input-Output Studies (PAPAIOS), vol. 11(1), pages 1-17, December.
    11. Ondřej Krčál & Rostislav Staněk & Martin Slanicay, 2019. "Made for the job or by the job? A lab-in-the-field experiment with firefighters," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2019-05, Masaryk University.
    12. Miloš Fišar & Ondřej Krčál & Jiří Špalek & Rostislav Staněk & James Tremewan, 2019. "A Competitive Audit Selection Mechanism with Incomplete Information," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2019-08, Masaryk University.
    13. Diya Abraham & Ben Greiner & Marianne Stephanides, 2021. "On the Internet you can be anyone: An experiment on strategic avatar choice in online marketplaces," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2021-02, Masaryk University.
    14. Wernsdorf, Kathrin & Nagler, Markus & Watzinger, Martin, 2022. "ICT, collaboration, and innovation: Evidence from BITNET," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 211(C).
    15. Leogrande, Angelo & Costantiello, Alberto & Laureti, Lucio, 2021. "The Broadband Penetration in Europe," MPRA Paper 110457, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Giacomo De Luca & Thilo R. Huning & Paulo Santos Monteiro, 2021. "Britain has had enough of experts? Social networks and the Brexit referendum," Discussion Papers 21/01, Department of Economics, University of York.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ICT; Broadband infrastructure; Networks; Internet; Social capital; Civic capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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