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Does the Internet make people happier ?

Author

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  • Thierry Pénard

    (University of Rennes 1 - CREM-CNRS, Marsouin)

  • Nicolas Poussing

    (CEPS / INSTEAD, CREM-CNRS)

  • Raphaël Suire

    (University of Rennes 1 - CREM-CNRS, Marsouin)

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 satisfaction. 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 social 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 characteristics, social capital, values and beliefs, and health and income. Moreover, the positive influence of Internet use is stronger for low income and young individuals. These findings suggest that public policy aiming to reduce the digital divide are socially desirable

Suggested Citation

  • Thierry Pénard & Nicolas Poussing & Raphaël Suire, 2011. "Does the Internet make people happier ?," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201106, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  • Handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:201106
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internet; happiness; well-being; digital divide; social capital; social values;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • 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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