Social Indicators Research

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 647–662 | Cite as

Internet Use and Well-Being Before and During the Crisis in Europe

Article

Abstract

The debate about whether Internet use increases or decreases subjective well-being is growing. However, previous studies rarely explore either this association at the time of financial crisis or the mechanisms by which contextual factors affect well-being. Using the four waves of the European Social Survey 2004–2010, this study examines the association between Internet use and well-being before and during the financial crisis in Europe which started in 2007. To understand how contextual factors explain individual well-being, we use multilevel model. We find that before the crisis, Internet use is not associated with well-being, in contrast with during the period of crisis. Beyond documenting the associations between Internet use and well-being, we find that using the Internet to respond to a situation of unemployment may help individuals for improved well-being. We also find that the density of Internet users in regions across Europe has positive and significant association with well-being. The results suggest that Internet use by individuals and the provision of the Internet access may be beneficial for maintaining well-being especially during the crisis.

Keywords

Internet use Well-being Crisis in Europe Multilevel model 

References

  1. Argyle, M. (2001). The Psychology of Happiness. East Sussex: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Blanchard, O. J., (2006). European unemployment: the evolution of facts and ideas. Economic Policy, 21(45), 5–59.Google Scholar
  3. Blanchflower, D. G., & Oswald, A. J. (2008). Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle. Social Science and Medicine, 66, 1733–1749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Christelis, D., Georgarakos, D., & Japelli, T. (2011). Wealth shocks, unemployent shocks, and consumption in the wake of the great recession. CSEF Working Paper, 279, http://www.csef.it/WP/wp279.pdf.
  5. Clark, A. E. (2003). Unemployment as a social norm: Psychological evidence from panel data. Journal of Labor Economics, 21(2), 323–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark, A. E., Knabe, A., & Ratzel, S. (2010). Boon or bane? Others’ unemployment, well-being and job insecurity. Labor Economics, 17, 52–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment. The Economic Journal, 104(424), 648–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, A. E., & Oswald, A. J. (2002). A simple statistical method for measuring how life events affect happiness. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31, 1139–1144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cotten, S. R., Ford, G., Ford, S., & Hale, T. M. (2012). Internet use and depression among older adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 28, 496–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deaton, A. (2008). Income, health, and well-being around the world: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22(2), 53–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Deaton, A. (2012). The financial crisis and the well-being of Americans. Oxford Economic Papers, 64(1), 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Di Tella, R., MacCulloch, R. J., & Oswald, A. J. (2001). Preferences over inflation and unemployment: evidence from surveys of happiness. American Economic Review, 91(1), 335–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diener, E., & Biswar-Diener, R. (2008). Happiness: Unlocking the mysteries of psychological wealth. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. European Comission (2012). Life Online Scoreboard. http://www.ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/scoreboard.
  15. Franzen, A. (2000). Does the Internet makes us lonely? European Sociological Review, 16(4), 427–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frey, B. S. (2008). Happiness: A revolution in economics. Massachusetts: MIT.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002). Happiness and economics: How the economic and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Graham, C. (2009). Happiness around the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Graham, C., & Sukhtankar, S. (2004). Does economic reduce support for market and democracy in Latin America? Some evidence from surveysof public opinion and well-being. Journal of Latin America Studies, 36, 349–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gross, E. F., Juvonen, J., & Gable, S. L. (2002). Internet use and well-being in adolescence. Journal of Social Issues, 58(1), 75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Helliwell, J. F., & Putnam, R. D. (2004). The social context of well-being. The Royal Society, 359, 1435–1446.Google Scholar
  22. Inglehart, R., Foa, R., Peterson, C., & Welzel, C. (2008). Development, freedom and rising happiness: A global perspective (1981-2007). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(4), 264–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kavetsos, G., & Koutroumpis, P. (2011). Technological affluence and subjective well-being. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32, 742–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kraut, R., Kiesler, S., Boneva, B., Cummings, J., Hegelson, V., & Crawford, A. (2002). Internet paradox revisited. Journal of Social Issues, 58(1), 49–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kraut, R., Peterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukopadhyay, T., & Scherlis, W. (1998). Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psyhologhical well-being? American Psychologist, 53(9), 1017–1071.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lane, R. E. (2000). The Loss of Happiness. New Heaven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Lim, C., & Putnam, R. D. (2010). Religion, social networks, and life satisfaction. American Sociological Review, 75(6), 914–933.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mitchell, M., Lebow, J., Grathouse, H., & Shoger, W. (2011). Internet use, happiness, social support and introversion: A more fine grained analysis of person variables and Internet activity. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 1857–1861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nie, N. H., Hillygus, D. S., & Erbring, L. (2002). Internet use, interpersonal relationships, and sociability in the Internet. In B. Wellman & C. Hayathornwaite (Eds.), Internet in everyday life. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Oesch, D., & Lipps, O. (2012). Does unemployment hurt less if there is more of it around? A panel analysis of life satisfaction in Germany and Switzerland. European Sociological Review, 1–13. Google Scholar
  31. Oswald, A. J. (1997). Happiness and economic performance. The Economic Journal, 107(445), 1815–1851.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Penard, T., & Pousing, N. (2010). Internet use and social capital: Strength of virtual ties, http://perso.univrennes1.fr/thierry.penard/biblio/PenardPoussingSocialCapital.pdf.
  33. Rabe-Hesketh, S., Skrondal, A., &Pickles, A. (2004) GLLAMM Manual. http://www.biostat.jhsph.edu/~fdominic/teaching/bio656/software/gllamm.manual.pdf.
  34. Roed, K. (2002). Hysteresis in unemployment. Journal of Economics Surveys, 11(4), 389–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shapiro, M. D. (2010). The effect of the financial crisis on the well-being of older Americans: Evidence from the cognitive economics study, http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/78345/1/wp228.pdf.
  36. Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (2011). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Stepanikova, I., Nie, N. H., & He, X. (2010). Time on the Internet at home, loneliness and life satisfaction: Evidence from panel time-diary data. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(3), 329–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social ChangeUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations