Jens Grossklags & Nigel Barradale, Social Status and the demand for security and privacy
Comment by: Alice Marwick
Workshop draft abstract:
The majority of the stakeholders of the political process argue for consistently increased funding for defense, anti-terrorism activities and domestic security. However, it is far from obvious whether these concerns for superior security activities are shared by the majority of citizens. Specifically, we argue that individuals belonging to different social status categories perceive the need for security and the sometimes associated privacy tradeoff in substantially different ways.
The method of investigation used is experimental, with 146 subjects interacting in high- or low-status assignments and the subsequent change in the demand for security and privacy being related to status assignment with a significant t-statistic up to 2.9, depending on the specification. We find that a high-status assignment strongly increases the demand for security. This effect is observable for two predefined sub-dimensions of security (i.e., personal and societal concerns) as well as for the composite measure. We find only weak support for an increase in the demand for privacy with a low-status manipulation.
Hence high status decision-makers, including the political elite, will be inclined to over-spend on security measures relative to the demand of the populace.