Regulating Privacy Online: An Economic Evaluation of the GDPR
Law & Economics Center at George Mason University Scalia Law School Research Paper Series No. 22-025
61 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2019 Last revised: 17 Nov 2022
Date Written: July 17, 2019
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: Suggested Citation