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Information technologies and subjective well-being: Does the internet raise material aspirations?

  • Lohmann, Steffen

This paper examines whether access to modern information technologies, in particular the internet, has an impact on invididual positionality - meaning the degree to which subjective well-being is affected by income relative to others rather than absolute income. We provide empirical evidence that positionality and internet access are intertwined. Exploiting variation over time in a panel of European households, we find stated material aspirations to be significantly positively related to computer access in areas with advanced internet infrastructure. Furthermore, we report cross-sectional evidence from the World Values Survey suggesting an indirect negative effect of internet access on subjective well-being since people who regularly use the internet as a source of information derive less satisfaction from income. Together, the empirical findings highlight the importance of information sets for how individuals evaluate own living conditions relative to others and suggests a vital role for informational globalisation to affect positionality.

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Paper provided by University of Goettingen, Department of Economics in its series Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers with number 169.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:169
Contact details of provider: Postal: Platz der Göttinger Sieben 3, 37073 Göttingen
Web page: http://www.cege.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/

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