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“Now that you mention it”: A Survey Experiment on Information, Salience and Online Privacy


  • Helia Marreiros

    (University of Southampton, Economics Department, School of Social Sciences)

  • Mirco Tonin

    (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen, Faculty of Economics and Management)

  • Michael Vlassopoulos

    (University of Southampton, Economics Department, School of Social Sciences)

  • M.C. Schraefel

    (University of Southampton, Electronics and Computer Sciences Department)


Personal data lie at the forefront of different business models and constitute the main source of revenue of several online companies. In many cases, consumers have incomplete information about the digital transactions of their data. This paper investigates whether highlighting positive or negative aspects of online privacy, thereby mitigating the informational problem, can affect consumers’ privacy actions and attitudes. Results of two online survey experiments indicate that participants adopt a more conservative stance on disclosing identifiable information, such as name and email, even when they are informed about positive attitudes of companies towards their privacy. On the other hand, they do not change their attitudes and social actions towards privacy. These findings suggest that privacy concerns are dormant and may manifest when consumers are asked to think about privacy; and that privacy behavior is not necessarily sensitive to exposure to objective threats or benefits of disclosing personal information.

Suggested Citation

  • Helia Marreiros & Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos & M.C. Schraefel, 2016. "“Now that you mention it”: A Survey Experiment on Information, Salience and Online Privacy," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS34, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
  • Handle: RePEc:bzn:wpaper:bemps34

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    survey experiment; information economics; privacy policies; salience; self-disclosure;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • L38 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Policy
    • M38 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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