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Valuation of Personal Data: Experimental Analysis
Initial registration date
August 20, 2019
April 27, 2020 4:59 AM EDT
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University of Passau
Other Primary Investigator(s)
University of Passau
Additional Trial Information
Laboratory experiments on privacy decision-making can provide complementary insights to surveys and field experiments, but they raise the methodological challenge of how to induce value for data in an artificial environment. To this end, we run three experimental studies and benchmark different design parameters regarding data valuation. Specifically, (i) we elicit participants’ willingness-to-accept the disclosure of different data types in the laboratory, (ii) we benchmark different elicitation methods, and (iii) we investigate the impact of information uncertainty by varying feedback provided to participants before they submit their valuation.
We conduct three experimental studies in a laboratory environment. In all studies, we elicit subjects' monetary valuation of their personal data, by asking them for their willingness-to-accept the disclosure of this data in the experimental session. In Study 1, we vary the type of personal data which is collected and disclosed. In Study 2, we compare different mechanisms for eliciting subjects' monetary valuation. In Study 3, subjects face different degrees of uncertainty regarding their collected personal data.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Subjects’ (incentivized) monetary valuation of their personal data, i.e., their willingness-to-accept the disclosure of their data to other participants in the laboratory.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Subjects’ (hypothetical) willingness-to-pay (WTP) for their personal data, i.e., the maximum price that they would be willing to pay to prevent disclosure of their data to other participants in the laboratory.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experiments are run in an experimental laboratory at the School of Business, Economics and Information Systems at the University of Passau. Treatments are randomized at the session level. Participants will be recruited from the student subject pool of the University of Passau. Each subject participates in only one of the three studies and in only one treatment (between-subject design). In all three studies, subjects are fully informed about the timeline of the experiment and the consequences of their actions. In the experiment, personal data is only disclosed if subjects give their explicit consent in accordance with the European General Data Protection Regulation. Subjects receive a monetary compensation for disclosing their data in addition to a participation fee. We record subjects' monetary valuation of their personal data (revealed willingness-to-accept, hypothetical willingness-to-pay), the data that is collected and put under threat of disclosure in the laboratory, subjects' answers to an ex-post questionnaire and to several manipulation checks, as well as background statistics and variables related to the data valuation procedure.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization by computer in office
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Observations on the subject level are assumed to be independent, because subjects decide only once on their data valuation and decide without interacting with other participants in the experimental session. Thus, the number of clusters equals the number of observations.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We schedule data collection aiming at 75 observations per treatment. This corresponds to five experimental sessions each, with 15 participants in a single session. Thus, we aim for a total of 500-600 individual participants across the three studies.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
DT1: 75 participants, DT2: 75 participants, DT3: 75 participants, EM2: 75 participants, EM3: 75 participants, IU2: 75 participants, IU3: 75 participants
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
University of Passau - Committee for the Ethics of Security-Relevant Research
IRB Approval Date
German Association for Experimental Economic Research e.V.
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number