The Privacy Elasticity of Behavior: Conceptualization and Application

Inbal Dekel, Rachel Cummings, Ori Heffetz, Katrina Ligett

Research output: Working paper


We propose and initiate the study of privacy elasticity--the responsiveness of economic variables to small changes in the level of privacy given to participants in an economic system. Individuals rarely experience either full privacy or a complete lack of privacy; we use differential privacy--a computer-science theory increasingly adopted by industry and government--as a standardized means of quantifying continuous privacy changes. The resulting privacy measure implies a privacy-elasticity notion that is portable and comparable across contexts. We discuss applications, and demonstrate the feasibility of this approach by estimating the privacy elasticity of public-good contributions in a lab experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameNBER working paper series
PublisherNational Bureau of Economic Research
Volumeno. w30215

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