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The effects of online disclosure about personalised pricing on consumers

Results from a lab experiment in Ireland and Chile

Online personalised pricing is a form of price discrimination that involves charging different prices to different consumers, often based on a consumer’s personal data. Policymakers are currently discussing ways to protect consumers from potential adverse effects of personalised pricing. One option involves displaying disclosures on the websites of retailers that use personalised pricing, in order for consumers to make informed purchase decisions. This paper summarizes findings from a laboratory experiment on the effects that online disclosures about personalised pricing have on consumers. Results from the experiment suggest that online disclosures have only limited effects on consumers’ ability to identify and comprehend online personalised pricing, and cannot confirm a significant effect on participants’ purchasing behaviour. Results from a questionnaire distributed to participants reveal that on average personalised pricing is considered an unfair practice that should be prohibited.

Published on January 18, 2021