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E-participation: Social Capital and the Internet

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  • Fabio Sabatini

    (Department of Economics and Law, Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) and Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR), National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow and Saint Petersburg (Russia))

  • Francesco Sarracino

    (Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg (STATEC), Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR), National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow and Saint Petersburg (Russia))

Abstract

Studies in the social capital literature have documented two stylised facts: first, a decline in measures of social participation has occurred in many OECD countries. Second, and more recently, the success of social networking sites (SNSs) has resulted in a steep rise in online social participation. Our study adds to this body of research by conducting the first empirical assessment of how online networking affects two economically relevant aspects of social capital, i.e. trust and sociability. We address endogeneity in online networking by exploiting technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures that exogenously determined the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet. We find that participation in SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter has a positive effect on face-to-face interactions. However, social trust decreases with online interactions. We argue that the rising practice of hate speech may play a crucial role in the destruction of trust

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2014. "E-participation: Social Capital and the Internet," Working Papers 2014.81, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2014.81
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoci, Angelo & Delfino, Alexia & Paglieri, Fabio & Panebianco, Fabrizio & Sabatini, Fabio, 2016. "Civility vs. incivility in online social interactions: an evolutionary approach," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68800, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Angelo Antoci & Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2016. "Online Networks, Social Interaction and Segregation: An Evolutionary Approach," Papers 1603.05828, arXiv.org.
    3. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    4. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 456-480, August.
    5. Angelo Antoci & Alexia Delfino & Fabio Paglieri & Fabio Sabatini, 2016. "The ecology of social interactions in online and offline environments," Papers 1601.07776, arXiv.org.
    6. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2016. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do Online Social Networks Raise Social Comparisons?," Working Papers 2016.32, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Participation; Online Networks; Facebook; Social Trust; Social Capital; Broadband; Digital Divide; Hate Speech;

    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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