Privacy and Data-Based Research

30 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2013 Last revised: 6 Feb 2022

See all articles by Ori Heffetz

Ori Heffetz

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Katrina Ligett

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2013

Abstract

What can we, as users of microdata, formally guarantee to the individuals (or firms) in our dataset, regarding their privacy? We retell a few stories, well-known in data-privacy circles, of failed anonymization attempts in publicly released datasets. We then provide a mostly informal introduction to several ideas from the literature on differential privacy, an active literature in computer science that studies formal approaches to preserving the privacy of individuals in statistical databases. We apply some of its insights to situations routinely faced by applied economists, emphasizing big-data contexts.

Suggested Citation

Heffetz, Ori and Ligett, Katrina, Privacy and Data-Based Research (September 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19433, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2325806

Ori Heffetz (Contact Author)

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

324 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91905
Israel

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~heffetz

Katrina Ligett

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Benin School of Computer Science and Engineering ( email )

Israel

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