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Terrorist threats, information disclosures, and consumer sovereignty

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  • Smith, V. Kerry
  • Mansfield, Carol
  • Allen Klaiber, H.

Abstract

This paper proposes the use of consumers’ preferences in formulating policies for keeping secret information about terrorist activities and threats that might compromise future security. We report the results from two surveys indicating that support for government secrecy varies across situations depending on the threat and context. A majority of respondents preferred full disclosure of some information related to terrorist threats regardless of the consequences for specific industries or future threats, in particular threats involving attacks on commercial airlines. However a majority of respondents were willing to allow government authorities to withhold information about the details of threats to the financial system and to buildings if revealing the information might compromise future investigations. While the public generally recognizes the importance of keeping some information secret, a democratically elected government should seek to understand the preferences of its citizens on important policy issues related to public safety and security.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 25 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 225-234

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:25:y:2013:i:4:p:225-234

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

Related research

Keywords: Security; Consumer preferences for information; Terrorist risk;

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  1. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  2. Carlsson, Fredrik & Daruvala, Dinky & Jaldell, Henrik, 2013. "Do administrators have the same priorities for risk reductions as the general public?," Karlstad University Working Papers in Economics 7, Department of Economics, Karlstad University.
  3. Ville Ovaskainen & Matleena Kniivilä, 2005. "Consumer versus citizen preferences in contingent valuation: evidence on the role of question framing ," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 49(4), pages 379-394, December.
  4. Carlsson, Fredrik & Kataria, Mitesh & Lampi, Elina, 2008. "Do EPA administrators recommend environmental policies that citizens want?," Working Papers in Economics 297, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. V. Smith & Carol Mansfield & Laurel Clayton, 2009. "Valuing a homeland security policy: Countermeasures for the threats from shoulder mounted missiles," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 215-243, June.
  6. R.K. Blamey & Mick S. Common & John C. Quiggin, 1995. "Respondents To Contingent Valuation Surveys: Consumers Or Citizens?," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 39(3), pages 263-288, December.
  7. Siqueira, Kevin & Sandler, Todd, 2007. "Terrorist backlash, terrorism mitigation, and policy delegation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1800-1815, September.
  8. Curtis, John A. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "The citizen versus consumer hypothesis: Evidence from a contingent valuation survey," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 46(1), March.
  9. Nyborg, Karine, 2000. "Homo Economicus and Homo Politicus: interpretation and aggregation of environmental values," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 305-322, July.
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