Does the Internet make people happier?

Thierry Pénard, University of Rennes 1 – CREM – Marsouin
Nicolas Poussing, CEPS/INSTEAD
Raphaël Suire, University of Rennes 1 – CREM – Marsouin

 

Abstract: as people are more intensively using the Internet, it is important to assess its impact
on individual well-being. Internet use may yield satisfaction (as a leisure and social activity)
and economic returns. But the Internet could also have detrimental effects (addiction, social
isolation,…). This paper aims to examine the relation between Internet use and happiness.
Using Luxemburgish data from European social survey, we find evidence that non users are
less happy than Internet users. This result holds when we control for socio-demographic
characteristics; social capital, values, health and income. We also control for endogeneity
issues. These findings suggest that public policy aiming to reduce digital divide are socially
efficient.
Keywords: Internet, happiness, well-being, digital divide, social capital, social values.

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