Nudging Towards Data Equity: The Role of Stewardship and Fiduciaries in the Digital Economy

18 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021

Date Written: February 22, 2021


In this short piece, we posit that data stewards and digital fiduciaries, by enabling greater participation in data-related decisions, can nudge society towards greater social and economic equity. First, we locate data stewards and digital fiduciaries within the broader debate on new data paradigms, and discuss their respective roles at the individual and community level. Drawing from literature on community stewardship of environmental resources, the paper relatedly touches upon possible duties and business models for data stewards and digital fiduciaries.

Thereafter, we discuss conceptual and anecdotal links between “ladders” of participation and greater equity in the context of data. While strong links are posited between participation as facilitated by stewards and forms of data equity, there remains a need to establish, research, and evaluate the potential and limitations of data stewards and digital fiduciaries in the “wild.” The paper concludes with specific questions designed to build a body of work that explores the role that stewards/fiduciaries can play in rebalancing power in the data economy.

Keywords: privacy, fiduciaries, data trusts

Suggested Citation

Kapoor, Astha and Whitt, Richard S., Nudging Towards Data Equity: The Role of Stewardship and Fiduciaries in the Digital Economy (February 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Astha Kapoor

Aapti Institute ( email )

2nd Floor, 1/36 Hanumanthappa Layout, 2nd Cross
Ulsoor Road
Bangalore, 560042
09999631712 (Phone)
560020 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://

Richard S. Whitt (Contact Author)

GLIA Foundation ( email )

573 Upland Road
Emerald Hills, CA CA 94062
United States
650-450-1705 (Phone)


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