Steven Bellman, Eric J. Johnson, Stephen J. Kobrin, and Gerald L. Lohse
We examine three possible explanations for differences in Internet privacy
concerns revealed by national regulation: (1) these differences reflect and
are related to differences in cultural values described by other research; (2)
these differences reflect differences in Internet experience, or (3) they reflect
differences in the desires of political institutions without reflecting underlying
differences in privacy preferences. Using a sample of Internet users from 38
countries matched against the Internet population of the United States, we find
support for (1) and (2), suggesting the need for localized privacy policies.
Privacy concerns decline with Internet experience. Controlling for experience,
cultural values were associated with differences in privacy concerns. These
cultural differences are mediated by regulatory differences, although new cultural
differences emerge when differences in regulation are harmonized. Differences
in regulation reflect but also shape country differences. Consumers in countries
with sectoral regulation have less desire for more privacy regulation.
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