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Do privacy laws affect the location decisions of internet firms? evidence for privacy havens

  • ROCHELANDET, Fabrice
  • TAI, Silvio H.T.

This paper empirically studies the location decisions of internet firms when they face high legal standards of privacy protection. Many factors might influence them: technological spillovers, lower taxation, and so on. Internet firms can also arbitrate national differences and many of them actually locate their activity in order to escape from national laws they consider over-stringent. In the current stage of development of the internet – the so-called Web 2.0 – the ease of access to personal data proved to be strategic input. So the more a jurisdiction makes collecting and using these data easy, the more attractive the country is, if all other things remain constant. One way for a firm to avoid such legal restrictions is to locate or to expand its business in less privacy protective countries. Our empirical results support this 'no-privacy haven' hypothesis. In particular, we highlight a new privacy paradox according to which the more stringent certain online privacy laws are, the more they induce firms to locate their business in less stringent countries, and finally the weaker actual privacy protection on the internet is.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 37354.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37354
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  1. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2004. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," IMF Working Papers 04/231, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Henisz, Witold J, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Multinational Investment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 334-64, October.
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  4. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan & Szeidl, Adam, 2004. "Optimal Integration: Strategies for the Multinational Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 4477, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Paulo Guimaraes & Octavio Figueiredo & Douglas Woodward, 2000. "A tractable approach to the firm location decision problem," NIMA Working Papers 2, Núcleo de Investigação em Microeconomia Aplicada (NIMA), Universidade do Minho.
  6. George J. Stigler, 1980. "An Introduction to Privacy in Economics and Politics," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 10, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  7. Michael P. Keane & Susan E. Feinberg, 2006. "Accounting for the Growth of MNC-Based Trade Using a Structural Model of U.S. MNCs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1515-1558, December.
  8. Lise Tole & Gary Koop, 2011. "Do environmental regulations affect the location decisions of multinational gold mining firms?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 151-177, January.
  9. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, June.
  10. Posner, Richard A, 1981. "The Economics of Privacy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 405-09, May.
  11. Avi Goldfarb & Catherine E. Tucker, 2011. "Privacy Regulation and Online Advertising," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(1), pages 57-71, January.
  12. Benjamin Hermalin & Michael Katz, 2006. "Privacy, property rights and efficiency: The economics of privacy as secrecy," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 209-239, September.
  13. Anthony Venables, 2001. "Geography and International Inequalities: The Impact of New Technologies," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 135-159, June.
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