Valuing Intrinsic and Instrumental Preferences for Privacy

  • Starts: 3:30 pm on Wednesday, October 21, 2020
  • Ends: 5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 21, 2020
This Cyber Alliance talk featuring Questrom Assistant Prof. Tesary Lin will center on her paper, in which she empirically separates two motives for consumers to protect privacy: an intrinsic motive, which is a "taste" for privacy; and an instrumental motive, which reflects the expected economic losses from revealing one’s private information to data collectors. Prof. Lin found that intrinsic preferences for privacy are highly heterogeneous. Consumers who choose to withhold their personal data are often systematically different from those who share; this systematic correlation between consumer characteristics and their privacy choices is called "self-selection into data sharing."

However, the self-selection pattern can often deviate from the "nothing-to-hide" argument, a prediction given by models with pure instrumental preferences. Prof Lin’s research shows how taking this more complex selection pattern into account can avoid erroneous inferences on consumers when researchers try to learn about consumers using personal and voluntarily shared data.

There will be time for casual conversation before and after the presentation. Please email Mayank Varia at to request Zoom invite details.