Regulating Privacy Online: An Economic Evaluation of the GDPR

61 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2019 Last revised: 1 Jun 2022

See all articles by Samuel Goldberg

Samuel Goldberg

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

Garrett Johnson

Questrom School of Business

Scott Shriver

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Marketing

Date Written: July 17, 2019

Abstract

Modern websites rely on personal data to measure and improve their performance and to market to consumers. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) limited access to such personal data, with the goal of protecting consumer privacy. We examine the GDPR's impact on website pageviews and revenue for 1,084 diverse online firms using data from Adobe's website analytics platform. Among EU users, we find a reduction of approximately 12% in both website pageviews and e-commerce revenue, as recorded by the platform after the GDPR's enforcement deadline. We find evidence that the GDPR both reduced data recording and harmed real economic outcomes: we derive bounds for the relative contribution of each explanation.

Keywords: Privacy, Regulation, EU, GDPR

JEL Classification: D04, K20, L50, L51, L86, M31, M38, O38

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, Samuel and Johnson, Garrett and Shriver, Scott, Regulating Privacy Online: An Economic Evaluation of the GDPR (July 17, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3421731 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3421731

Samuel Goldberg (Contact Author)

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research ( email )

366 Galvez Street
John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building
Stanford, CA CA 94305
United States

Garrett Johnson

Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
6173534677 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bu.edu/questrom/faculty-research/faculty-directory/garrett-johnson/

Scott Shriver

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Marketing ( email )

995 Regent Dr
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.colorado.edu/business/scott-shriver

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