The Value of Non-Personally Identifiable Information to Consumers of Online Services: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment

06 March 2017
By Dr. Garrett Glasgow and Sarah Butler

In an article published in Applied Economics Letters in 2017, NERA Senior Consultant Dr. Garrett Glasgow and Managing Director Sarah Butler use a discrete choice survey experiment to estimate the value of non-personally identifying information to consumers of online services. Non-personally identifying information for online services is typically information on the ways in and times at which customers use the service, and is distinct from personally identifying information such as email addresses or telephone numbers. They find that for most survey respondents, there is no evidence that they were willing to pay to avoid sharing their non-personally identifying information with third parties. A smaller group of respondents never selected a service that shared information with third parties, perhaps because they were "privacy fundamentalists" who place high importance on protecting their private information, or perhaps because they engaged in protest behavior and used the survey to express support for online privacy.