LCSR Associate Researcher
Antoci, A., Sabatini, F. & Sodini, M. (2015). Online and offline social participation and social poverty traps. Journal of Mathematical Sociology 39 (4), 229-256.
Fiorillo, D. & Sabatini, F. (2015). Structural social capital and health in Italy. Economics & Human Biology 17, 129-142.
Sabatini, F., Modena, F. & Tortia, E. (2014). Do cooperative enterprises create social trust? Small Business Economics 42 (3), 621-641.
Antoci, A., Sabatini, F. & Sodini, M. (2013). Bowling alone but tweeting together: the evolution of human interaction in the social networking Era. Quality & Quantity 48 (4), 1912-1927.
Antoci, F., Sabatini, F. & Sodini, M. (2013). Economic growth, technological progress and social capital: the inverted U hypothesis. Metroeconomica 64 (3), 401-431.
Antoci, F., Sabatini, F. & Sodini, M. (2012). See You on Facebook! A framework for analyzing the role of computer-mediated interaction in the evolution of social capital. Journal of Socio-Economics 41, 541-547.
What determines the economic success of countries? The literature has been investigating this issue from the origin of political economy, analysing the role of almost any possible factor, from hard ones such as demographic changes and natural resources, to intangibles like human capital, social capital, and trust.
Our project aims to add to this body of research by providing the first empirical investigation into the effect of tolerance on economic growth. We follow Florida (2003: 10) in defining tolerance as “openness, inclusiveness, and diversity to all ethnicities, races, and walks of life.” Based on descriptive evidence on the U.S., Florida and colleagues argued that talented and creative people are attracted to places that welcome differences in ethnicity, tastes, opinions, and sexual orientation. On the other hand, living in an open and diverse environment helps to make talented people even more creative and productive. This virtuous circle has been claimed to be the source of the economic success of U.S. clusters that have the highest concentration in creative workers. This body of research, however, has surprisingly received limited attention in the growth literature. This is in part due to some issues that undermine the credibility of results found in American clusters, from endogeneity concerns to measurement issues.
To overcome endogeneity problems and uncover the causal effect of tolerance on economic development, we propose a new empirical strategy focusing on the inherited component of tolerance and on its time variation over long periods.
Studies in the social capital literature have documented two stylised facts: first, a decline in measuresof social participation has occurred in many OECD countries. Second, and more recently, the success ofsocial networking sites (SNSs) has resulted in a steep rise in online social participation.This project adds to this body of research by conducting the first empirical assessment of how onlinenetworking affects social trust, face-to-face interactions, and individual well-being, with a special focuson its two components of health and self-reported happiness. In the first stage of the project, we findthat participation to SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter has a positive effect on face-to-faceinteractions. However, social trust decreases with participation in online networks.These findings lead us to argue that, due to the “online networking revolution”, Internet use is morelikely to support – rather than destroy – sociability and face-to-face interactions. However, not onlyonline networking allows Internet users to preserve their social ties and to activate latent ones: it alsofavours new contacts with people outside of usual reference groups. In face-to-face interactions, weusually select a narrow circle of people with whom to discuss about values and beliefs (e.g. political andmoral issues, such as those related to racism and civil rights). SNSs, by contrast, propose rooms fordiscussion where selection mechanisms are weak or lacking. In these online discussions, individualsare forced to confront themselves with a wide variety of points of views, since diversity is much morediffused in the global population of Internet users than how it is in their limited reference groups.Empirical studies have shown that, in the short run, diversity along ethnic, religious, age, and socioeconomicstatus lines may be a powerful source of frustration and distrust towards unknown.
Empirical studies have so far produced conflicting results about the effect of social networking on sociability and individual welfare. In this paper we use a nationally representative sample of Italian data to investigate how actual and virtual networks of social relationships influence different dimensions of subjective well-being. We find that participation in SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter may reduce loneliness by favouring face-to-face interactions. However, while actual networks of friends are shown to significantly improve self-reported happiness and individuals’ satisfaction with their leisure time and with the quality of their social relationships, online networks seem not to play any significant role.
Academic interests: economic growth, social norms, social networks, social capital, migrations, terrorism
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