Edited by Richard Shearmu, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux
Chapter 21: The Internet: its geography, growth and the creation of (digital) social capital
This chapter proposes a new framework on how the Internet can affect economic growth. Most of current and past research explaining the above relationship from a geographical standpoint focused on the hardware of the Internet. The latter was used as a proxy of the level of digitisation which could result to productivity effects. This chapter proposes the idea that if productivity related effects was the pathway through which the Internet generated economic effects in its early stages, online social networking performs such a role nowadays. The extensive popularity of Online Social Networks has positively affected social capital and most specifically bridging ties between dislocated actors. Traditionally, the ability of bridging ties to carry diverse knowledge has been praised by the innovation literature. This chapter proposes that Online Social Networks, which represent one of the latest rounds of ICT developments, have the capacity to positively affect innovation by enhancing the digital facet of social capital.
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