Discussion Paper Details

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Title: The Market for Data Privacy

Author(s): Tarun Ramadorai, Antoine Uettwiller and Ansgar Walther

Publication Date: March 2019

Keyword(s): data markets, privacy, third-party sharing and web tracking

Programme Area(s): Financial Economics and Industrial Organization

Abstract: We scrape a comprehensive set of US firms' privacy policies to facilitate research on the supply of data privacy. We analyze these data with the help of expert legal evaluations, and also acquire data on firms' web tracking activities. We find considerable and systematic variation in privacy policies along multiple dimensions including ease of access, length, readability, and quality, both within and between industries. Motivated by a simple theory of big data acquisition and usage, we analyze the relationship between firm size, knowledge capital intensity, and privacy supply. We find that large firms with intermediate data intensity have longer, legally watertight policies, but are more likely to share user data with third parties.

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Bibliographic Reference

Ramadorai, T, Uettwiller, A and Walther, A. 2019. 'The Market for Data Privacy'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.