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Empirical studies have documented a decline in indicators of social participation in the last decades. The responsibility of social disengagement has been often attributed to pervasive busyness and the rising pressure of time. In this paper the authors argue that computer-mediated interaction, and particularly online networking, can help mitigate this downward trend. They develop a logical framework for assessing the role of the internet in the evolution of social participation. They analyze an economy where agents can develop their social interactions through two main modes of participation, one encompassing both online networking and face to face interactions, and another solely based on physical encounters.
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