The Best of Strangers: Context Dependent Willingness to Divulge Personal Information
Leslie K. John
Harvard Business School
Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz College
Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences
July 6, 2009
Contrary to the assumption in much social science research that people have stable, coherent, preferences with respect to privacy, we find that concern about privacy, measured by divulgence of private information, is highly sensitive to contextual factors. We report results from 3 experiments, one of which was designed to elevate privacy concerns (paradoxically through assurances) and two of which were designed to suppress privacy concerns. This research raises serious questions about whether individuals will be able to navigate the increasingly complex issues of privacy in a self-interested fashion.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Privacy, Behavioral Economics, Laboratory Experiment, Consumer Research, Disclosure
JEL Classification: C91
Date posted: July 6, 2009
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