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‘You must not know about me’—On the willingness to share personal data


  • Schudy, Simeon
  • Utikal, Verena


Although understanding preferences for privacy is of great importance to economists, businesses, and politicians, little is known about the factors that shape the individual willingness to share personal data. This article provides four experimental studies with a total of 470 participants that help characterize individual preferences for sharing personal data varying the characteristics of potential recipients. We find that participants’ willingness to share personal data with anonymous recipients decreases with the number of recipients. However, social distance to the recipients and the amount of personal data a single recipient receives do not decrease the willingness to share personal data. Further, we provide a methodological insight by showing that verification of personal data is essential when eliciting privacy preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Schudy, Simeon & Utikal, Verena, 2017. "‘You must not know about me’—On the willingness to share personal data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 1-13.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:1-13
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.05.023

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Holm, Hakan J. & Samahita, Margaret, 2016. "Curating Social Image: Experimental Evidence on the Value of Actions and Selfies," Working Papers 2016:8, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 14 Nov 2016.

    More about this item


    Preferences elicitation; Data privacy; Informational privacy; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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