Does the Internet make people happier?

Abstract : Given the increasingly prominent role the Internet plays in people's daily life, understanding its influence on individual well-being is crucial. Internet use yields direct utility and economic returns that may increase life satisfaction. But the Internet might also have detrimental effects (e.g. addiction, social isolation). This paper aims to examine the impact of Internet use on individual well-being. Using Luxemburgish data extracted from the European Value Survey, we find evidence that non users are less satisfied in their life than Internet users. Moreover, the positive influence of Internet use is stronger for individuals who are young or not satisfied with their income. These findings suggest that public policies aiming to reduce the digital divide by reaching out to non-Internet users are socially desirable.
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Thierry Pénard, Nicolas Poussing, Raphaël Suire. Does the Internet make people happier?. Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, 2013, 46, pp.105-116. ⟨10.1016/j.socec.2013.08.004⟩. ⟨halshs-00864314⟩

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