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Broadband Internet and Social Capital

Andrea Geraci, Mattia Nardotto, Tommaso Reggiani () and Fabio Sabatini ()

No 210, Working Papers in Public Economics from University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Economics and Law

Abstract: We study the impact of broadband penetration on social capital in the UK. Our empirical strategy exploits a technological feature of the telecommunication infrastructure that generated substantial variation in the quality of Internet access across households. The speed of a domestic connection rapidly decays with the distance of a user's line from the network's node serving the area. Merging information on the topology of the network with geocoded longitudinal data about individual social capital from 1997 to 2017, we show that access to fast Internet caused a significant decline in civic and political engagement. Overall, our results suggest that broadband penetration crowded out several dimensions of social capital.

Keywords: ICT; broadband infrastructure; networks; Internet; social capital; civic capital (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D91 L82 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 52
Date: 2021-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-ict, nep-ind, nep-pay, nep-reg, nep-soc and nep-ure
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Related works:
Journal Article: Broadband Internet and social capital (2022) Downloads
Working Paper: Broadband Internet and Social Capital (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Broadband Internet and Social Capital (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Broadband Internet and Social Capital (2018) Downloads
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