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Privacy nudges for disclosure of personal information: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis

Ioannou, Athina and Tussyadiah, Iis and Miller, Graham and Li, Shujun and Weick, Mario (2021) 'Privacy nudges for disclosure of personal information: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis.', PLOS ONE, 16 (8).


Objective Digital nudging has been mooted as a tool to alter user privacy behavior. However, empirical studies on digital nudging have yielded divergent results: while some studies found nudging to be highly effective, other studies found no such effects. Furthermore, previous studies employed a wide range of digital nudges, making it difficult to discern the effectiveness of digital nudging. To address these issues, we performed a systematic review of empirical studies on digital nudging and information disclosure as a specific privacy behavior. Method The search was conducted in five digital libraries and databases: Scopus, Google Scholar, ACM Digital Library, Web of Science, and Science Direct for peer-reviewed papers published in English after 2006, examining the effects of various nudging strategies on disclosure of personal information online. Results The review unveiled 78 papers that employed four categories of nudge interventions: presentation, information, defaults, and incentives, either individually or in combination. A meta-analysis on a subset of papers with available data (n = 54) revealed a significant small-to-medium sized effect of the nudge interventions on disclosure (Hedges’ g = 0.32). There was significant variation in the effectiveness of nudging (I2 = 89%), which was partially accounted for by interventions to increase disclosure being more effective than interventions to reduce disclosure. No evidence was found for differences in the effectiveness of nudging with presentation, information, defaults, and incentives interventions. Conclusion Identifying ways to nudge users into making more informed and desirable privacy decisions is of significant practical and policy value. There is a growing interest in digital privacy nudges for disclosure of personal information, with most empirical papers focusing on nudging with presentation. Further research is needed to elucidate the relative effectiveness of different intervention strategies and how nudges can confound one another.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:16 August 2021
Date deposited:27 September 2022
Date of first online publication:27 August 2021
Date first made open access:27 September 2022

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