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Feel free to use my personal data: an experiment on disclosure behavior when shopping online

José Luis Gómez-Barroso (Dpto. Economía Aplicada e Historia Económica, UNED - Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 1 January 2021

Issue publication date: 10 May 2021




The goal of the article is twofold: to determine the effectiveness of monetary incentives for disclosing personal information and to confirm the existence of a “bite the bullet” effect whereby people more easily accept providing personal data if they become aware of the requirement when the purchasing decision is almost taken.


An experiment in which participants made a real purchase on the AliExpress marketplace was carried out. They were asked to login either via the Facebook button or by creating a username and password. A different reimbursement of the price paid for their purchase was offered in each case. This information was presented either at the beginning of the purchasing process or just before completing the purchase order.


The monetary incentive proved to work well. The “bite the bullet” effect could not be assessed because many participants willingly gave their data to the company even if they had decided not to buy anything.

Practical implications

From a managerial perspective, this is good news. This is a calamity from a policy perspective. More experiments carried out in real settings are needed as a first step for reconsidering public action.

Social implications

While people continue to publicly declare that they have privacy concerns, their behavior could not be further removed from such concerns.


Experiment in a completely real setting, in which participants made a purchase using their own credit card.



Gómez-Barroso, J.L. (2021), "Feel free to use my personal data: an experiment on disclosure behavior when shopping online", Online Information Review, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 537-547.



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