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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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    11. 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, revised Feb 2023.
    12. Nie, Peng & Peng, Xu & Luo, Tianyuan, 2023. "Internet use and fertility behavior among reproductive-age women in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
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    14. Fei Xie & Bohui Zhang & Wenrui Zhang, 2022. "Trust, Incomplete Contracting, and Corporate Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 68(5), pages 3419-3443, May.
    15. Wernsdorf, Kathrin & Nagler, Markus & Watzinger, Martin, 2022. "ICT, collaboration, and innovation: Evidence from BITNET," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 211(C).
    16. Marta Golin, 2022. "The effect of broadband Internet on the gender gap in mental health: Evidence from Germany," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(S2), pages 6-21, October.
    17. Zhihui Chai & Mingjun Tian & Fengtong Yao, 2023. "The Impact of Internet Use on Production Efficiency of Animal Husbandry: Based on the Evidence of 340 Herdsmen in Inner Mongolia, China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(10), pages 1-22, May.
    18. Sofia Amaral-Garcia & Mattia Nardotto & Carol Propper & Tommaso Valletti, 2023. "Information and vaccine hesitancy: the role of broadband Internet," Papers 2023-04, Centre for Health Economics, Monash University.
    19. Leogrande, Angelo & Costantiello, Alberto & Laureti, Lucio, 2021. "The Broadband Penetration in Europe," MPRA Paper 110457, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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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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