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Markets for leaked information

Listed author(s):
  • Huck, Steffen
  • Weizsäcker, Georg

We study markets for sensitive personal information. An agent wants to communicate with another party but any revealed information can be intercepted and sold to a third party whose reaction harms the agent. The market for information induces an adverse sorting effect, allocating the information to those types of third parties who harm the agent most. In equilibrium, this limits information transmission by the agent, but never fully deters it. We also consider agents who naively provide information to the market. Their presence renders traded information more valuable and, thus, harms sophisticated agents by increasing the third party's demand for information. Halfbaked regulatory interventions may hurt naive agents without helping sophisticated agents. Comparing monopoly and oligopoly markets, we find that oligopoly is often better for the agent: it requires a higher value of traded information and therefore has to grant the agent more privacy.
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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change with number SP II 2015-305.

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Date of creation: 2015
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbeoc:spii2015305
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  1. Armstrong, Mark & Zhou, Jidong, 2010. "Conditioning prices on search behaviour," MPRA Paper 19985, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Jehiel, Philippe, 2005. "Analogy-based expectation equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 81-104, August.
  3. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Bonatti, 2015. "Selling Cookies," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 259-294, August.
  4. Beresford, Alastair R. & Kübler, Dorothea & Preibusch, Sören, 2012. "Unwillingness to pay for privacy: A field experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 25-27.
  5. Erik Eyster & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "Cursed Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1623-1672, September.
  6. Simeon Schudy & Verena Utikal, 2014. "Sharing Personal Information with Close and Distant Peers," TWI Research Paper Series 91, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universit�t Konstanz.
  7. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
  8. repec:lmu:muenec:20791 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Alessandro Acquisti & Curtis Taylor & Liad Wagman, 2016. "The Economics of Privacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 442-492, June.
  10. Curtis R. Taylor, 2004. "Consumer Privacy and the Market for Customer Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(4), pages 631-650, Winter.
  11. Botond Köszegi, 2014. "Behavioral Contract Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1075-1118, December.
  12. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
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