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Privacy and Data-Based Research

Author

Listed:
  • Ori Heffetz
  • Katrina Ligett

Abstract

What can we, as users of microdata, formally guarantee to the individuals (or firms) in our dataset, regarding their privacy? We retell a few stories, well-known in data-privacy circles, of failed anonymization attempts in publicly released datasets. We then provide a mostly informal introduction to several ideas from the literature on differential privacy, an active literature in computer science that studies formal approaches to preserving the privacy of individuals in statistical databases. We apply some of its insights to situations routinely faced by applied economists, emphasizing big-data contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • Ori Heffetz & Katrina Ligett, 2014. "Privacy and Data-Based Research," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 75-98, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:28:y:2014:i:2:p:75-98
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.28.2.75
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.28.2.75
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peter L. Rousseau, 2017. "Report of the Secretary," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 670-673, May.
    2. Satkartar K. Kinney & Jerome P. Reiter & Arnold P. Reznek & Javier Miranda & Ron S. Jarmin & John M. Abowd, 2011. "Towards Unrestricted Public Use Business Microdata: The Synthetic Longitudinal Business Database," International Statistical Review, International Statistical Institute, vol. 79(3), pages 362-384, December.
    3. Wasserman, Larry & Zhou, Shuheng, 2010. "A Statistical Framework for Differential Privacy," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(489), pages 375-389.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John M. Abowd & Ian M. Schmutte, 2017. "Revisiting the Economics of Privacy: Population Statistics and Confidentiality Protection as Public Goods," Working Papers 17-37, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Katherine B. Coffman & Lucas C. Coffman & Keith M. Marzilli Ericson, 2013. "The Size of the LGBT Population and the Magnitude of Anti-Gay Sentiment are Substantially Underestimated," NBER Working Papers 19508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. McLean, Richard P. & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2017. "A dynamic non-direct implementation mechanism for interdependent value problems," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 34-48.
    4. Garret S. Christensen & Edward Miguel, 2016. "Transparency, Reproducibility, and the Credibility of Economics Research," NBER Working Papers 22989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Pai, Mallesh M. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2017. "Mental health stigma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 57-60.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C55 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Large Data Sets: Modeling and Analysis

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