Paper Stats:
  Abstract Views: 20
   Downloads: 4
 
Too Much Information! Privacy, Rationality, Temptation and the Implications of 'Willpower Norms'
 

KATHERINE J. STRANDBURG
DePaul University - College of Law

 
 
Abstract:     
This Article explores the implications of bounded rationality and limited willpower for regulation of the societal flow of personal information. Because people are limited in their information processing capacity and are tempted both to pry into information they cannot interpret correctly and to disclose information that others cannot process rationally, a problem of "too much information" can arise. Social norms regulating prying, gossip, and the "appropriateness" of personal revelations appear to have developed in response to this problem.

The Article proposes a general category of "willpower norms" that includes many social norms governing the flow of personal information. Willpower norms may be enforced through social sanctions if deviations are detected. Additionally, internal self-control strategies may interact with social norms to provide a novel mechanism by which willpower norms can be effective against undetectable self-control lapses.

Though personal information norms have an important role to play in averting inefficient prying and disclosure, willpower norms, like other social norms, may fail. In some instances, for example, personal information norms can devolve into inefficient "silencing norms" that impede the evolution of social values. The "don't ask, donít tell" policy regarding gays in the military can be analyzed in this way.

Bounded rationality and limited self-control undermine the assumptions that more information is always better and that choices to disclose, obtain, or use personal information always indicate long-term preferences. However, the complicated relationship between rational choice, personal autonomy, and efforts to control the flow of personal information, also cautions against overly intrusive legal regulation.

 
Keywords: Privacy, willpower, temptation, social norm
 
Working Paper Series
 
Abstract has been viewed 20 times
 


Contact Information for KATHERINE J. STRANDBURG (Contact Author)


Email address for KATHERINE J. STRANDBURG
DePaul University - College of Law
Chicago , IL 60604-2287
United States
312-362-8536 (Phone)


 
Suggested Citation
Strandburg, Katherine J., "Too Much Information! Privacy, Rationality, Temptation and the Implications of 'Willpower Norms'" (September 7, 2004). http://ssrn.com/abstract=587950
 
 


SSRN Electronic Paper Collection

Download the document from:
New York, USA
California, USA
 
Email to yourself or a friend:



If you are experiencing download difficulties, click here

If you cannot download or receive this paper through email, please contact Support@SSRN.Com.

 

Format Type

Number of
Downloads

Date
Posted

File Size

Est. download time
@ 28.8K

File name

Acrobat File

4

Sep 11, 2004

727K

6.08 minutes

SSRN_ID587950_code346212.pdf

 

  Adobe Acrobat Reader v4.05 or Adobe Acrobat 4.0.5 or greater is required to view this paper. To obtain your free copy, click on the Acrobat button
 

Download times are estimates only. Your time to download may be extended due to a poor connection or heavy internet traffic between your location and our servers.
 

SSRN Resources
To search for other abstracts in the SSRN archival database, click here.

To order a membership to an SSRN Network or to subscribe to one or more of SSRN's journals, go to our online subscription request form.

To go to SSRN's main web site (www.ssrn.com), click here.

Copyright © 2004 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved