20 de fevereiro de 2008


Este estudo é curioso. Pelo menos nos países analisados as pessoas estão a visitar-se menos: vejam em Making time for friends vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists. Acontecerá o mesmo cá? E se não, porquê?
Excertos (início e fim):

"Do you know who your friends are? Have you seen them lately? Data from both the United States and France show that some important forms of social interaction are on the decline (Putnam 1996; Blanpain and Pan Ké Shon 1998). While membership in social groups has remained relatively stable over time, there has been a decline in visiting friends, neighbours, and relatives. This decline in visiting is not simply due to friends switching to email communication and socializing at work. Evidence of a true decline in friendship is provided by McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Brashears (2006), who document a decline in the reported number of close friends over the past 20 years. Understanding the determinants of the decline in visiting has attracted interest in both the academic literature and in the popular press. It raises concerns on both sides of the Atlantic because social interaction is thought to have positive effects on the mental and physical health of individuals and the efficiency of economic institutions."

"Human capital, however, is found to be an important determinant of social interaction. The effect of human capital, as measured by education and age, is positive for membership activities but negative for visiting relatives and friends. This is not an intuitive result and requires some explanation. One possibility is that this effect results from the productivity-enhancing aspect of education. Membership activities, like employment, are goal-oriented. Education increases productivity both at work and in membership activities. However, education has little effect on the productivity of time spent visiting. Thus, an increase in education results in greater productivity in membership activities and greater utility for the individual. To put this more intuitively, education makes membership activities more interesting and visiting less interesting. This shifts social interaction to membership activities and away from visiting.
Other factors were also found to be important determinants of social interaction. Higher income increases memberships and decreases visiting, which seems consistent with the education effect. Marriage tends to reduce all social interactions, which suggests that a spouse is a substitute for other social interactions. Children have a positive effect of membership in school and church groups, which is probably the result of complementarity between these activities and child care. Males tend to have less of all social interactions, which is a familiar result. Finally, a comparison between France and the United States shows that the response to human capital and other variables are much the same in both nations. Since the time data show that visiting has declined while education has increased, it is possible that the true cause of the decline in visiting is rising education. Trends in social interactions, it seems, are not driven by a simple trade-off between work and play but by education and choices in consuming different types of socializing."

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