Does access to information technology make people happier? Insights from well-being surveys from around the world

Carol Graham*, Milena Nikolova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We explore the relationship between access to cell phones, TV, and the internet and subjective well-being worldwide, using pooled cross-sectional data from the Gallup World Poll for 2009-2011. We find that technology access is positive for well-being in general, but with diminishing marginal returns for those who already have much access. Moreover, we find signs of increased stress and anger among cohorts for whom access to the technologies is new. We also explore whether increased financial inclusion - through cell phones and mobile banking - has additional effects on well-being in Sub-Saharan Africa. We show that well-being levels are higher in the countries with higher levels of access to mobile banking, but so are stress and anger. Our findings are in line with earlier research, which shows that while development raises aggregate levels of well-being in the long run, high levels of frustration often accompany the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-139
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Volume44
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jun-2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cell phones
  • Financial inclusion
  • Internet
  • Subjective well-being
  • Technology access

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