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Project Citation: 

Allcott, Hunt, Braghieri, Luca, Eichmeyer, Sarah, and Gentzkow, Matthew. Replication Archive for: The Welfare Effects of Social Media. Nashville, TN: American Economic Association [publisher], 2020. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-02-28.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary
The rise of social media has provoked both optimism about potential societal benefits and concern about harms such as addiction, depression, and political polarization. In a randomized experiment, we find that deactivating Facebook for the four weeks before the 2018 US midterm election (i) reduced online activity, while increasing offline activities such as watching TV alone and socializing with family and friends; (ii) reduced both factual news knowledge and political polarization; (iii) increased subjective well-being; and (iv) caused a large persistent reduction in post-experiment Facebook use. Deactivation reduced post-experiment valuations of Facebook, suggesting that traditional metrics may overstate consumer surplus.

Scope of Project

Subject Terms:  View help for Subject Terms Social media; Political polarization; Subjective well-being; Consumer surplus from digital technologies
JEL Classification:  View help for JEL Classification
      D12 Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
      D90 Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: General
      I31 General Welfare; Well-Being
      L86 Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
      O33 Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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