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Public Goods, Social Pressure, and the Choice between Privacy and Publicity

Author

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  • Andrew F. Daughety
  • Jennifer F. Reinganum

Abstract

We model privacy as an agent's choice of action being unobservable to others. An agent derives utility from his action, the aggregate of agents' actions, and other agents' perceptions of his type. If his action is unobservable, he takes his full-information optimal action and is pooled with other types, while if observable, then he distorts it to enhance others' perceptions of him. This increases the public good, but the disutility from distortion is a social cost. When the disutility of distortion is high (low) relative to the marginal utility of the public good, a policy of privacy (publicity) is optimal. (JEL D82, H41)

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2010. "Public Goods, Social Pressure, and the Choice between Privacy and Publicity," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 191-221, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:2:y:2010:i:2:p:191-221
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.2.2.191
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/mic.2.2.191
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/mic/app/2009-0041_app.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2011. "Laws and Norms," NBER Working Papers 17579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alessandro Acquisti & Curtis Taylor & Liad Wagman, 2016. "The Economics of Privacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 442-492, June.
    3. Ni Huang & Yili Hong & Gordon Burtch, 2015. "Digital Social Visibility, Anonymity and User Content Generation: Evidence from Natural Experiments," Working Papers 15-04, NET Institute.
    4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2016. "Long-Term Persistence," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(6), pages 1401-1436, December.
    5. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:1579-1584 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Avi Goldfarb, 2014. "What is Different About Online Advertising?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(2), pages 115-129, March.
    7. Bar-Isaac Heski, 2012. "Transparency, Career Concerns, and Incentives for Acquiring Expertise," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-15, January.
    8. Bruno Deffains & Claude Fluet, 2013. "Legal Liability when Individuals Have Moral Concerns," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(4), pages 930-955, August.
    9. Cartwright, Edward & Patel, Amrish, 2013. "How category reporting can improve fundraising," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 73-90.
    10. Fabrizio Adriani & Silvia Sonderegger, 2013. "Signaling about norms: Socialization under strategic uncertainty," Discussion Papers 2013-11, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    11. Fluet, Claude & Galbiati, Rpbertp, 2016. "Lois et normes : les enseignements de l'économie comportementale," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 92(1-2), pages 191-215, Mars-Juin.
    12. Anderlini, Luca & Gerardi, Dino & Lagunoff, Roger, 2016. "Auditing, disclosure, and verification in decentralized decision problems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 393-408.
    13. Jin-Hyuk Kim & Liad Wagman, 2015. "Screening incentives and privacy protection in financial markets: a theoretical and empirical analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(1), pages 1-22, March.
    14. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:293-308 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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