Thursday, January 5, 2012

Technology, Age, and Shifting Privacy Concerns

Avi Goldfarb, University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; Catherine Tucker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Management Science, Dec. 21, 2011

From the abstract: "The digital revolution has increased the collection and commercial use of detailed individual data. This paper explores how this phenomenon has affected the evolution of consumer privacy concerns over time. We measure privacy concerns by reluctance to disclose income in an online setting. Using over three million survey responses collected by a marketing research company over eight years, our data show three key patterns: (1) Refusals to reveal information have risen over time, (2) Older people are much less likely to reveal information, and (3) The difference between older and younger people has increased over time. We present suggestive evidence that the overall increase in refusals and the expanding gap between older and younger people is partly due to broadening perceptions of the contexts in which privacy is relevant." Read more