To consent, or not to consent? The publicness effect on citizens’ willingness to grant access to personal data in the face of a health crisis

To consent, or not to consent? The publicness effect on citizens’ willingness to grant access to personal data in the face of a health crisis
Nicola Belle, Paola Cantarelli, R. Paul Battaglio
Journal of European Public Policy, 16 April 2021
Abstract
This study contributes to the nascent behavioral governance scholarship by experimentally testing whether individuals’ likelihood of lifting their privacy rights in the face of a health crisis varies based on the public versus private nature of the entity accessing their personal data and the length of time during which records can be used. We run an online, randomized control trial with 1,500 citizens representative of the Italian general adult population. Results show a significant increase in subjects’ willingness to grant access to personal records when the entity analyzing data is public rather than private. Further, the propensity to consenting is higher when access to personal data is granted for a limited rather than an unlimited period of time. We discuss how these patterns of results change remarkably across geographic areas within the country.

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