Self-interest and data protection drive the adoption and moral acceptability of big data technologies: A conjoint analysis approach

Rabia I. Kodapanakkal*, Mark J. Brandt, Christoph Kogler, Ilja Van Beest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
182 Downloads (Pure)


Big data technologies have both benefits and costs which can influence their adoption and moral acceptability. Prior studies look at people's evaluations in isolation without pitting costs and benefits against each other. We address this limitation with a conjoint experiment (N = 979), using six domains (criminal investigations, crime prevention, citizen scores, healthcare, banking, and employment), where we simultaneously test the relative influence of four factors: the status quo, outcome favorability, data sharing, and data protection on decisions to adopt and perceptions of moral acceptability of the technologies. We present two key findings. (1) People adopt technologies more often when data is protected and when outcomes are favorable. They place equal or more importance on data protection in all domains except healthcare where outcome favorability has the strongest influence. (2) Data protection is the strongest driver of moral acceptability in all domains except healthcare, where the strongest driver is outcome favorability. Additionally, sharing data lowers preference for all technologies, but has a relatively smaller influence. People do not show a status quo bias in the adoption of technologies. When evaluating moral acceptability, people show a status quo bias but this is driven by the citizen scores domain. Differences across domains arise from differences in magnitude of the effects but the effects are in the same direction. Taken together, these results highlight that people are not always primarily driven by self-interest and do place importance on potential privacy violations. The results also challenge the assumption that people generally prefer the status quo.
Keywords: Attitudes, Big data, Conjoint analysis, Data protection, Data sharing, Loss aversion, Moral acceptability, Outcome favorability, Privacy, Risk perception
Original languageEnglish
Article number106303
Number of pages13
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Big data
  • Conjoint analysis
  • Data protection
  • Data sharing
  • Moral acceptability
  • Outcome favorability


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