Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/142674
Authors: 
Sabatini, Fabio
Sarracino, Francesco
Year of Publication: 
2014
Series/Report no.: 
EERI Research Paper Series 11/2014
Abstract: 
Does Facebook make people lonely and unhappy? Empirical studies have produced conflicting results about the effect of social networking sites (SNS) use on individual welfare. We use a representative sample of the Italian population to investigate how actual and virtual networks of social relationships influence subjective well-being (SWB). We find a significantly negative correlation between online networking and self-reported happiness. We address endogeneity in online networking by exploiting technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures that exogenously determined the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet. We try to further disentangle the direct effect of SNS use on well-being from the indirect effect possibly caused by the impact of SNS’s on trust and sociability in a SEM analysis. We find that online networking plays a positive role in SWB through its impact on physical interactions. On the other hand, SNS use is associated with lower social trust, which is in turn positively correlated with SWB. The overall effect of networking on individual welfare is significantly negative.
Subjects: 
Social participation
online networks
Facebook
social trust
social capital
subjective well-being
hate speech
broadband
digital divide
JEL: 
C36
D85
O33
Z13
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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