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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 3 (May 2012)

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Shifts in Privacy Concerns

Article Citation

Goldfarb, Avi, and Catherine Tucker. 2012. "Shifts in Privacy Concerns." American Economic Review, 102(3): 349-53.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.3.349

Abstract

This paper explores how digitization and the associated use of customer data have affected the evolution of consumer privacy concerns. We measure privacy concerns by reluctance to disclose income in an online marketing research survey. Using over three million responses over eight years, our data show: (1) Refusals to reveal information have risen over time, (2) Older people are less likely to reveal information, and (3) The difference between older and younger people has increased over time. Our results suggest that the trends over time are partly due to broadening perceptions of the contexts in which privacy is relevant.

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Authors

Goldfarb, Avi (U Toronto)
Tucker, Catherine (MIT)

JEL Classifications

D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
M31: Marketing


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