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Internet Use and Social Capital: The Strength of Virtual Ties

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  • Thierry Pénard
  • Nicolas Poussing

Abstract

This paper aims to understand how Internet users may improve their social capital by investing in online social activities. We argue that the Internet can be a convenient and efficient means of maintaining existing social ties and/or of creating new ties. We seek to identify the determinants of online investments in social capital and the nature of the interaction with traditional forms of investment in social capital. Using a Luxembourg household survey, the econometric results reveal a significant positive impact of volunteer activities and trust (two measures of social capital) on online investments to maintain social capital, but more ambiguous results are found between online investments and face-to-face contacts with friends. By contrast, online investments to create new ties are poorly related to the Internet users' existing social capital, but depend on the opportunity cost of time.

Suggested Citation

  • Thierry Pénard & Nicolas Poussing, 2010. "Internet Use and Social Capital: The Strength of Virtual Ties," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 569-595.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:3:p:569-595
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624440301
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    Cited by:

    1. Thierry Pénard & Alexandre Mayol, 2015. "Facebook use and individual well-being: Like me to make me happier!," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201506, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    2. Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2013. "Will Facebook save or destroy social capital? An empirical investigation into the effect of online interactions on trust and networks," EconStor Preprints 88145, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    3. 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).
    4. Antoci, Angelo & Guerrini, Luca & Sodini, Mauro & Zarri, Luca, 2014. "A two-sector model of economic growth with social capital accumulation," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 56-65.
    5. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2014. "E-participation: Social Capital and the Internet," Working Papers 2014.81, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Zhang, Chuanchuan & Zhao, Jianmei, 2017. "Internet Usage and Rural Entrepreneurship in China," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258521, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. PENARD Thierry & POUSSING Nicolas & ZOMO YEBE Gabriel & NSI ELLA Philémon, 2012. "Usage d'Internet et du téléphone mobile en Afrique : une comparaison des déterminants d'adoption sur données gabonaises," LISER Working Paper Series 2012-15, LISER.
    12. 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.
    13. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 456-480, August.
    14. M. Sodini & F. Sabatini & A. Antoci, 2014. "Online and offline social participation and social poverty traps. Can social networks save human relations?," Working Paper CRENoS 201404, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    15. Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2015. "Online social networks and trust," MPRA Paper 62506, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. 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.
    17. repec:agr:journl:v:3(616):y:2018:i:3(616):p:145-152 is not listed on IDEAS

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