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Broadband Internet and Social Capital

Andrea Geraci (), Mattia Nardotto (), Tommaso Reggiani () and Fabio Sabatini ()
Additional contact information
Mattia Nardotto: KU Leuven

No 11855, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract: We study how the diffusion of broadband Internet affects social capital using two data sets from the UK. Our empirical strategy exploits the fact that broadband access has long depended on customers' position in the voice telecommunication infrastructure that was designed in the 1930s. The actual speed of an Internet connection, in fact, rapidly decays with the distance of the dwelling from the specific node of the network serving its area. Merging unique information about the topology of the voice network with geocoded longitudinal data about individual social capital, we show that access to broadband Internet caused a significant decline in forms of offline interaction and civic engagement. Overall, our results suggest that broadband penetration substantially crowded out several aspects of social capital.

Keywords: ICT; broadband infrastructure; networks; Internet; social capital; civic capital (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D9 D91 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-ict, nep-net, nep-pay, nep-reg, nep-soc and nep-ure
Date: 2018-09
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Working Paper: Broadband Internet and Social Capital (2018) Downloads
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