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Sabatini, F., Sarracino, F. (2014). E-participation: social capital and the Internet. MPRA Paper 55722.

We add to the literature by conducting the first empirical assessment of how online networking affects two economically relevant aspects of social capital, i.e. trust and sociability, in a large and representative sample. We address endogeneity in online networking by exploiting technological characteristics of the pre-existing voice telecommunication infrastructures that exogenously determined the availability of broadband for high-speed Internet. We find that participation in SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter has a positive effect on face-to-face interactions. However, social trust decreases with online interactions. We argue that the rising practice of hate speech may play a crucial role in the destruction of trust.

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Authors

Sabatini, Fabio

I am Researcher in Economics at the Department of Economics and Law of Sapienza University of Rome, where I currently teach Public Economics as Aggregate Professor at the Faculty of Economics. I previously held posts at the Departments of Economics of the Universities of Trento, Siena, Padua, and...

Sarracino, Francesco

I am an economist collaborating with the national institute of statistics of Luxembourg, the GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and an associate member of the scientific network of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research – Higher School of Economics, Russia. My thesis...

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