IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/feemth/234936.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do Online Social Networks Raise Social Comparisons?

Author

Listed:
  • Sabatini, Fabio
  • Sarracino, Francesco

Abstract

Online social networks, such as Facebook, disclose an unprecedented volume of personal information amplifying the occasions for social comparisons, which can be a cause of frustration. We test the hypothesis that the use of social networking sites (SNS) increases social comparisons as proxied by people’s dissatisfaction with their income and we compare the effect of SNS in Western and Eastern European countries. After controlling for the possibility of reverse causality, our results suggest that SNS users have a higher probability to compare their achievements with those of others. In Western countries, this leads individuals to a lower satisfaction with their economic conditions. The opposite holds in Eastern countries, where upward comparisons seemingly strengthen the hope that an improvement in individuals’ economic conditions will occur (so called “tunnel effect”). We conclude that SNS can be a strong engine of frustration for their users depending on the institutional and economic circumstances.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2016. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do Online Social Networks Raise Social Comparisons?," ETA: Economic Theory and Applications 234936, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemth:234936
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.234936
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/234936/files/NDL2016-032.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.22004/ag.econ.234936?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:bla:revinw:v:60:y:2014:i::p:s233-s255 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Astrid Gamba & Elena Manzoni & Luca Stanca, 2017. "Social comparison and risk taking behavior," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 221-248, February.
    5. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 456-480, August.
    6. repec:taf:jnlbes:v:30:y:2012:i:1:p:67-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
    8. Efstratia Arampatzi & Martijn J. Burger & Natallia Novik, 2018. "Social Network Sites, Individual Social Capital and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 99-122, January.
    9. Conchita D’Ambrosio & Joachim Frick, 2007. "Income Satisfaction and Relative Deprivation: An Empirical Link," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 81(3), pages 497-519, May.
    10. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769, April.
    11. Jona Linde & Joep Sonnemans, 2012. "Social comparison and risky choices," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 45-72, February.
    12. AndrewE. Clark & Claudia Senik, 2010. "Who Compares to Whom? The Anatomy of Income Comparisons in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 573-594, May.
    13. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    14. Fabio Sabatini & Francesca Modena & Ermanno Tortia, 2014. "Do cooperative enterprises create social trust?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 621-641, March.
    15. Bossert, Walter & D'Ambrosio, Conchita, 2006. "Reference groups and individual deprivation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 421-426, March.
    16. 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.
    17. Angelo Antoci & Fabio Sabatini & Mauro Sodini, 2013. "Economic Growth, Technological Progress and Social Capital: The Inverted U Hypothesis," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 401-431, July.
    18. Conchita D'Ambrosio & Joachim R. Frick, 2012. "Individual Wellbeing in a Dynamic Perspective," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(314), pages 284-302, April.
    19. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    20. Albert O. Hirschman & Michael Rothschild, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic DevelopmentWith A Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-566.
    21. Steffen Lohmann, 2015. "Information technologies and subjective well-being: does the Internet raise material aspirations?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 740-759.
    22. David Roodman, 2011. "Fitting fully observed recursive mixed-process models with cmp," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 11(2), pages 159-206, June.
    23. Alain Cohn & Ernst Fehr & Benedikt Herrmann & Frédéric Schneider, 2014. "Social Comparison And Effort Provision: Evidence From A Field Experiment," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 877-898, August.
    24. Filipe Campante & Ruben Durante & Francesco Sobbrio, 2018. "Politics 2.0: The Multifaceted Effect of Broadband Internet on Political Participation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 1094-1136.
    25. Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2014. "E-participation: Social Capital and the Internet," Economy and Society 186606, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    26. Hilke Brockmann & Jan Delhey & Christian Welzel & Hao Yuan, 2009. "The China Puzzle: Falling Happiness in a Rising Economy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 387-405, August.
    27. Francesca Modena & Concetta Rondinelli & Fabio Sabatini, 2014. "Economic Insecurity and Fertility Intentions: The Case of Italy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 233-255, May.
    28. Hyll, Walter & Schneider, Lutz, 2013. "The causal effect of watching TV on material aspirations: Evidence from the “valley of the innocent”," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 37-51.
    29. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2006. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 209-225, May.
    30. Frijters, Paul & Leigh, Andrew, 2008. "Materialism on the March: From conspicuous leisure to conspicuous consumption?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1937-1945, October.
    31. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 2-16, January.
    32. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 27-28, January.
    33. Bartolini, Stefano & Sarracino, Francesco, 2015. "The Dark Side of Chinese Growth: Declining Social Capital and Well-Being in Times of Economic Boom," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 333-351.
    34. 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.
    35. Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
    36. Bentham, Jeremy, 1781. "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number bentham1781.
    37. Hirschman, Albert O., 1973. "The changing tolerance for income inequality in the course of economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 1(12), pages 29-36, December.
    38. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    39. By Li Huang & He-ling Shi, 2015. "Keeping up with the Joneses: from conspicuous consumption to conspicuous leisure?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 949-962.
    40. Monica Guillen-Royo & Tim Kasser, 2015. "Personal Goals, Socio-Economic Context and Happiness: Studying a Diverse Sample in Peru," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 405-425, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-03-01 18:14:30

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Roy Cerqueti & Fabio Sabatini & Marco Ventura, 2019. "Civic capital and support for the welfare state," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 53(2), pages 313-336, August.
    3. 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.
    4. McDool, Emily & Powell, Philip & Roberts, Jennifer & Taylor, Karl, 2020. "The internet and children’s psychological wellbeing," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    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 & Fabio Sabatini, 2016. "The ecology of social interactions in online and offline environments," Papers 1601.07776, arXiv.org.
    7. Laszlo Goerke, 2021. "Habit formation and wage determination," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 42(1), pages 61-76, January.
    8. Laszlo Goerke, 2020. "An Efficiency-Wage Model with Habit Concerns about Wages," CESifo Working Paper Series 8428, CESifo.
    9. 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).
    10. Laszlo Goerke, 2020. "An Efficiency-Wage Model with Habit Concerns about Wages," CESifo Working Paper Series 8428, CESifo.
    11. Castellacci, Fulvio & Tveito, Vegard, 2018. "Internet use and well-being: A survey and a theoretical framework," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 308-325.
    12. 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.
    13. Fulvio Castellacci & Henrik Schwabe, 2020. "Internet, unmet aspirations and the U-shape of life," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(6), pages 1-22, June.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    2. 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).
    3. 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.
    4. Diriwaechter, Patric & Shvartsman, Elena, 2018. "The anticipation and adaptation effects of intra- and interpersonal wage changes on job satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 116-140.
    5. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier B. & Giulietti, Corrado & Robalino, Juan D. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2016. "Remittances and relative concerns in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 191-207.
    6. Clark, Andrew E. & D'Ambrosio, Conchita, 2014. "Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 8136, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Antoci, Angelo & Delfino, Alexia & Paglieri, Fabio & Sabatini, Fabio, 2016. "The ecology of social interactions in online and offline environments," MPRA Paper 69090, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 456-480, August.
    9. Elena Bárcena-Martín & Alexandra Cortés-Aguilar & Ana I. Moro-Egido, 2017. "Social Comparisons on Subjective Well-Being: The Role of Social and Cultural Capital," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 1121-1145, August.
    10. Felix FitzRoy & Michael Nolan & Max Steinhardt & David Ulph, 2014. "Testing the tunnel effect: comparison, age and happiness in UK and German panels," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, December.
    11. Elena Bárcena-Martín & Cortés Aguilar Alexandra & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2013. "The role of proximity and social comparisons on subjective well-being," ThE Papers 13/10, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    12. Rotondi, Valentina & Stanca, Luca & Tomasuolo, Miriam, 2017. "Connecting alone: Smartphone use, quality of social interactions and well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 17-26.
    13. Piekalkiewicz, Marcin, 2016. "Money, Social Capital and Materialism. Evidence from Happiness Data," EconStor Preprints 130185, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    14. Alexandru Cojocaru, 2016. "Does Relative Deprivation Matter in Developing Countries: Evidence from Six Transition Economies," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 735-756, February.
    15. Victoria Ateca-Amestoy & Alexandra Aguilar & Ana Moro-Egido, 2014. "Social Interactions and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Latin America," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 527-554, June.
    16. Jiawen Ding & Javier Salinas-Jiménez & Maria del Mar Salinas-Jiménez, 2021. "The Impact of Income Inequality on Subjective Well-Being: The Case of China," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 845-866, February.
    17. Senik, Claudia, 2009. "Direct evidence on income comparisons and their welfare effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 408-424, October.
    18. Han Yu, 0. "Income Comparison and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Self-Perceived Relative Income Data from China," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 0, pages 1-37.
    19. Alpaslan Akay & Gökhan Karabulut & Peter Martinsson, 2013. "The effect of religiosity and religious festivals on positional concerns -- an experimental investigation of Ramadan," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(27), pages 3914-3921, September.
    20. Fontaine, Xavier & Yamada, Katsunori, 2014. "Caste Comparisons in India: Evidence From Subjective Well-Being Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 407-419.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Research Methods/ Statistical Methods;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • 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
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:feemth:234936. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/feemmit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: AgEcon Search (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/feemmit.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.