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Online Privacy and Price Discrimination

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Author Info

  • Vincent Conitzer
  • Curtis Taylor
  • Liad Wagman

Abstract

When a firm is able to recognize its previous customers, it may use information about their purchase histories to price discriminate. We analyze a model with a monopolist and a continuum of heterogeneous consumers, where consumers are able to maintain their anonymity and avoid being identified as past customers, possibly at an (exogenous) cost. When consumers can costlessly maintain their anonymity, they all individually choose to do so, which paradoxically results in the highest profit for the firm. Increasing the cost of anonymity can benefit consumers, but only up to a point, after which the effect is reversed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 10-79.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:10-79

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097
Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Privacy; anonymity; price discrimination; electronic commerce;

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