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Does the Internet make people happier?

  • PENARD Thierry
  • POUSSING Nicolas
  • SUIRE Raphaël

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..

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Paper provided by CEPS/INSTEAD in its series CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series with number 2011-41.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-41
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