Discussion paper

DP19000 Personalization and Privacy Choice

This paper studies consumers' privacy choices when firms can use their data to make personalized offers. We first introduce a general framework of personalization and privacy choice, and then apply it to personalized recommendations, personalized prices, and personalized product design. We argue that due to firms' reaction in the product market, consumers who share their data often impose a negative externality on other consumers. Due to this privacy-choice externality, too many consumers share their data relative to the consumer optimum; moreover, more competition, or improvements in data security, can lower consumer surplus by encouraging more data sharing.


Rhodes, A and J Zhou (2024), ‘DP19000 Personalization and Privacy Choice‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 19000. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp19000