Alessandro Acquisti is a Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. His research combines economics, decision research, and data mining to investigate the role of privacy in a digital society. His studies have spearheaded the economic analysis of privacy, the application of behavioral economics to the understanding of consumer privacy valuations and decision-making, and the investigation of privacy and personal disclosures in online social networks.

Talk: Behavioral Advertising and Consumer Welfare: An Empirical Investigation

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Abstract: We investigate the impact of behavioral advertising on consumer welfare in a within-subjects online experiment. While the vast majority of empirical work on the impact of online advertising focuses on click and conversion rates of behaviorally targeted ads, we propose a counterfactual approach, in which online consumers are presented with alternative offers: products associated with targeted ads they were served online, competing products, and random products. Participants are asked to compare these alternatives along a variety of metrics. Thus, we assess consumer welfare implications of behavioral advertising comparatively, in an ongoing online experiment that captures differences in participants’ purchase intentions and other product characteristics which can affect consumer utility. (joint work with Eduardo Mustri and Idris Adjerid)