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

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  • Lohmann, Steffen

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lohmann, Steffen, 2013. "Information technologies and subjective well-being: Does the internet raise material aspirations?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 169, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:169
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew E. Clark & Sarah Flèche & Claudia Senik, 2016. "Economic Growth Evens Out Happiness: Evidence from Six Surveys," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(3), pages 405-419, September.
    2. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2015. "Keeping up with the e-Joneses: Do online social networks raise social comparisons?," Papers 1507.08863, arXiv.org.
    3. Kreibaum, Merle, 2016. "Their Suffering, Our Burden? How Congolese Refugees Affect the Ugandan Population," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 262-287.
    4. Fulvio Castellacci & Vegard Tveito, 2016. "The Effects of ICTs on Well-being: A Survey and a Theoretical Framework," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20161004, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    5. McDool, Emily & Powell, Philip & Roberts, Jennifer & Taylor, Karl, 2016. "Social Media Use and Children's Wellbeing," IZA Discussion Papers 10412, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:308-325 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Antoci, Angelo & Bonelli, Laura & Paglieri, Fabio & Reggiani, Tommaso G. & Sabatini, Fabio, 2018. "Civility and Trust in Social Media," IZA Discussion Papers 11290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(3), pages 456-480, August.
    9. Fulvio Castellacci & Clara Viñas-Bardolet, 2017. "Internet use and job satisfaction," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20170126, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    10. Fulvio Castellacci & Henrik Schwabe, 2018. "Internet Use and the U-shaped relationship between Age and Well-being," Working Papers on Innovation Studies 20180215, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; positionality; relative income; informational globalisation;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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