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Online Social Networks and Trust

Author

Listed:
  • Fabio Sabatini

    (Sapienza University of Rome)

  • Francesco Sarracino

    (LCSR National Research University Higher School of Economics
    GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences)

Abstract

We use Italian data from the Multipurpose Household Survey to explore how participation in social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter affects the most economically relevant aspect of social capital, trust. We account for measures of trust in strangers (often referred to as social trust), trust in neighbours (particularized trust) and trust in the police (institutional trust). We address endogeneity in the use of SNS by exploiting the variation in the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet, which relates to technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures. We find that all the forms of trust significantly decrease with participation in online networks. We discuss several interpretations of the results in light of the specific features of Internet-mediated social interaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2019. "Online Social Networks and Trust," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 229-260, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:142:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-018-1887-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-018-1887-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Angelo Antoci & Fabio Sabatini, 2018. "Online networks, social interaction and segregation: an evolutionary approach," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 859-883, September.
    2. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    3. McDool, Emily & Powell, Philip & Roberts, Jennifer & Taylor, Karl, 2016. "Social Media Use and Children's Wellbeing," IZA Discussion Papers 10412, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Angelo Antoci & Alexia Delfino & Fabio Paglieri & Fabio Sabatini, 2016. "The ecology of social interactions in online and offline environments," Papers 1601.07776, arXiv.org.
    5. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 456-480, August.
    6. Angelo Antoci & Alexia Delfino & Fabio Paglieri & Fabrizio Panebianco & Fabio Sabatini, 2016. "Civility vs. Incivility in Online Social Interactions: An Evolutionary Approach," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(11), pages 1-17, November.
    7. He, Dan & Shen, Xi & Liu, Qing-Qi, 2020. "The relationship between upward social comparison on SNSs and excessive smartphone use: A moderated mediation analysis," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    8. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internet; Broadband; Online networks; Social networking sites; Facebook; Trust; Social capital; Hate speech;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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