Public discussions of privacy are often based on compelling anecdotes or extreme events, but more systematic evaluation has illuminated the subtle nature of the benefits and costs of different privacy policies. For example, there can be trade-offs between the amount of private information shared with digital service providers and the nature and range of the products that they are able to offer. In some cases, privacy restrictions can limit the ability to coordinate medical care and consumer lending. Regulation of personal data access and utilization, and associated issues of data security, are active subjects of policy interest.
To promote research on the economic foundations of privacy and on the potential implications of regulations designed to preserve it, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, plans to convene an in-person research conference, public health circumstances permitting, in Washington, DC, on Thursday-Friday, March 31-April 1, 2022. The conference will be organized by NBER research associates Avi Goldfarb (University of Toronto) and Catherine Tucker (MIT). The meeting will focus on understanding the interplay of privacy, privacy regulation, and economics.
Topics that are suitable for analysis and presentation at the conference include, but are not limited to:
- The effect of privacy regulations on economic outcomes
- Consumer attitudes and behaviors towards the privacy of their data
- The implications of government surveillance on economic outcomes
- The economics of data security and data breaches
- The interaction between privacy and competition
- The interactions between privacy, inequality, innovation, and economic growth
- Privacy, market design, and consumer data markets
- Privacy and international trade
- Behavioral economics and privacy
- Privacy and health
- Privacy issues in the field of artificial intelligence
- The value of privacy
Both theoretical and empirical papers are appropriate for this meeting, but there will be some emphasis on papers with empirical application.
To be considered for inclusion on the program, papers must be uploaded by midnight Eastern time on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 to:
Submissions from authors with and without NBER affiliations, from early career scholars, and from researchers from under-represented groups are all welcome. Please do not submit papers that will be published by April 2022 or that have been committed for publication elsewhere.
Decisions about which papers will be included on the program will be announced in January, 2022. The NBER will provide a modest honorarium for the authors of each paper on the program, and cover the travel cost of two authors per paper to attend the research conference in Washington. All co-authors will be invited to the meeting. In January 2022, author teams will be expected to present to the conference organizers a very short (10 minute) outline of what the paper will contain and what has already been accomplished. There will also be a short Q&A session and authors will receive written feedback. Please direct questions about this conference to firstname.lastname@example.org.