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Does the Internet make people happier?

Author

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  • PENARD Thierry
  • POUSSING Nicolas
  • SUIRE Raphaël

Abstract

As people are spending more time online, it is important to evaluate the impact of Internet use on individual well-being. Internet use yields direct utility and economic returns (e.g. better job, higher productivity) that may increase life sa-tisfaction. But the Internet might also have detrimental effects (addiction, social isolation, e.g.). This paper empirically examines the relation between Internet use and subjective well-being. Using Luxemburgish data from a European so-cial survey, we find evidence that non users are less satisfied in their life than Internet users. This result holds when we control for socio-demographic charac-teristics, social capital, values and beliefs, and health and income. Moreover, the positive influence of Internet use is stronger for low income and young in-dividuals. These findings suggest that public policy aiming to reduce the digital divide are socially desirable..

Suggested Citation

  • PENARD Thierry & POUSSING Nicolas & SUIRE Raphaël, 2011. "Does the Internet make people happier?," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-41, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-41
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internet; happiness; well-being; digital divide; social capital; social values;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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