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Castronova E., Wagner G. G. (2011). Virtual Life Satisfaction. Kyklos 64 (3), 313-328

We study life satisfaction data from the 2005 World Values Survey and a 2009 survey of users of the virtual world Second Life. Second Life users do not have the same demographic profile as the general population, but the differences are not as large as we expected. The mechanisms and causes of life satisfaction seem to be similar in the two samples. Among Second Life users, satisfaction with their virtual life is higher than satisfaction with their real life. Regression analysis indicates that people in certain life situations, such as unemployment, gain more life satisfaction from ‘switching’ to the virtual world than from changing their real-life circumstances. In other words, an unemployed person can become happier by visiting Second Life rather than finding a job. Correspondingly, problems in real life are positive predictors of intense use of virtual life.


Castronova, Edward

Edward Castronova: Professor of Telecommunications and Cognitive Science, Indiana University. Castronova (PhD Economics, Wisconsin, 1991) is a founder of scholarly online game studies and an expert on the societies of virtual worlds. Among his academic publications on these topics are two books:...

Wagner, Gert G.

Gert G. Wagner is Chairman of the Executive Board of   DIW Berlin, Professor of Economics at the Berlin University of Technology (TUB), and Max Planck Fellow at the MPI for Human Development (Berlin). Wagner is chairman of the German Census Commission and German Council for Social and...

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