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Online social networks and trust

Fabio Sabatini () and Francesco Sarracino

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: We explore how participation in social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter affects the most economically relevant aspect of social capital, trust. We use measures of trust in strangers (or social trust), trust in neighbours and trust in the police. We address endogeneity in the use of SNS by exploiting the variation in the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet, which relates to technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures. We find that all the proxies of trust significantly decrease with participation in online networks. We discuss several interpretations of the results in light of the specific features of Internet-mediated social interaction.

Keywords: Internet; broadband; online networks; social networking sites; Facebook; trust; social capital; hate speech (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D89 O33 Z1 Z13 Z19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ict, nep-mfd, nep-net, nep-soc and nep-ure
Date: 2015-03-01
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Working Paper: Online social networks and trust (2015) Downloads
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