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Preferences for privacy and security: An experimental investigation


  • C. Jill Stowe

    () (Department of Economics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA)

  • Kate Krause

    (Department of Economics, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM, USA)

  • Janie M. Chermak

    (Department of Economics, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM, USA)


The article experimentally investigates individuals’ choice behavior between privacy and security. In a convenience sample of undergraduate and graduate students, we find that most individuals choose to sacrifice a moderate amount of privacy in exchange for a moderate increase in security. A nontrivial fraction of participants made more extreme choices, opting for either high security or high privacy positions. Identifiable factors influenced these choices. For example, while the high security individuals responded to losses they personally experienced in the experiment, high privacy subjects responded to losses experienced by others in the experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Jill Stowe & Kate Krause & Janie M. Chermak, 2010. "Preferences for privacy and security: An experimental investigation," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, EPS Publishing, vol. 5(1), pages 34-42, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:epc:journl:v:5:y:2010:i:1:p:34-42

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    More about this item


    Privacy; security; multinomial logit;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior


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