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Carnegie Mellon Heinz School Policy Management Information Technology
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Alessandro Acquisti 

Alessandro Acquisti

Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Public Policy
Ph.D., Information Management and Systems, UC Berkeley

Professional Background

Alessandro Acquisti is an Assistant Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). He is also a member of the CMU Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory, a member of CMU Privacy Technology Center, and a partner at Carnegie Mellon CyLab. Prior to joining CMU Faculty, Acquisti researched with the Internet Ecologies group at the Xerox PARC labs in Palo Alto; with the Human-Centered Computing group at RIACS, NASA Ames Research Center; and at SIMS, UC Berkeley, where he received a Master and a Ph.D. in Information Systems in 2001 and 2003. Acquisti received also a Master in Economics from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1999; and a Master in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics in 1999.

Acquisti's professional home page can be accessed at:


Acquisti has received national and international awards, including the 2005 PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies and the 2005 IBM Best Academic Privacy Faculty Award. He has been invited to give plenary and keynote speeches at international events such as ETRICS and the Annual CACR Privacy and Security Workshop. He is or has been a member of the program committees of various international conferences and workshops, including ACM EC, PET, WEIS, Financial Cryptography, and WPES.


Acquisti’s research interests lie at the overlap of information technology, society, and economics. They include, primarily, the economics of privacy and information security, but also the economics of computers and AI, agents economics, computational economics, ecommerce, cryptography, anonymity, and electronic voting. His research in these areas has been disseminated through journals (such as Marketing Science, the Journal of Comparative Economics, and the Rivista di Politica Economica); book chapters (such as chapters in The Economics of Information Security and Ubiquitous Commerce), and leading international conferences (such as ACM Electronic Commerce Conference, Financial Cryptography, PET, and WPES).

Acquisti also maintains a page with resources on the economics of privacy. His research in this area focuses on the economic impact of privacy protection and privacy intrusions, the relations between privacy and economic rationality, and the dichotomy between expressed privacy attitudes and actual revealed behavior.

Research Overview

Research Slides

Community Service

Acquisti has provided research expertise on the economics of privacy to a number of profit and non-profit organizations. His work on privacy and security in online social networks has received extensive coverage in the national and international media (e.g., coverage by the New Scientist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Baylor Business Review).

Selected Publications

Updates can be found at:

Economics of Privacy and Information Security

"On the Economics of Anonymity," Alessandro Acquisti, Roger Dingledine, and Paul Syverson. Financial Cryptography (FC 03). Springer-Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 2742, 84-102, 2003.

"Losses, Gains, and Hyperbolic Discounting: An Experimental Approach to Personal Information Security Attitudes and Behavior," Alessandro Acquisti and Jens Grossklags. Second Workshop on Economics and Information Security, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, May 2003.

"Protecting Privacy with Economics: Economic Incentives for Preventive Technologies in Ubiquitous Computing Environments," Alessandro Acquisti. Workshop on Socially-informed Design of Privacy-enhancing Solutions, 4th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UBICOMP 02), Goteborg, Sweden, September 2002. Invited paper.

"Security of Personal Information and Privacy: Technological Solutions and Economic Incentives," Alessandro Acquisti. First Workshop on Economics and Information Security, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, May 2002.

Economics of Computers and AI

"Computers and Innovation in a Network Economy - An nk landscapes approach," Alessandro Acquisti, draft. Carnegie Mellon University, 2003.

"Intelligent Capital: Computers as Nodes in the Network Economy," Alessandro Acquisti, draft. Carnegie Mellon University, 2003.

"Von Neumann's Legacy: 'Intelligent' Capital in a Weightless Economy," Alessandro Acquisti. Trinity Economic Papers, 18/98, 1998.

"'Intelligent' vs. Human Capital in the Endogenous/Exogenous Growth Debate," Alessandro Acquisti and Mario Baldassarri. Trinity Economic Papers, 19/98, 1998.


"Conditioning Prices on Purchase History," Alessandro Acquisti and Hal Varian. Marketing Science, forthcoming 2005.

"Balance of Power on eBay: Peers or Unequals?," Ben Gross and Alessandro Acquisti. Workshop on the Economics of P2P Networks, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, June 2003.

"Inducing Customers to Try New Goods," Alessandro Acquisti and Hal Varian, draft. Carnegie Mellon University, 2003.

"Tacit Collusion, Competition and Winner-take-all in E-commerce," Alessandro Acquisti and Bernardo Huberman. UC Berkeley and Xerox PARC, 2001.


"An User-centric MIX-net Protocol to Protect Privacy," Alessandro Acquisti. Workshop on Privacy in Digital Environments: Empowering Users, ACM 2002 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 02), New Orleans, LA, November 2002.

"Probabilistic Privacy in an Untrusted Environment," Alessandro Acquisti, draft. Carnegie Mellon University, 2003.

"A Protocol for Fair and Anonymous Elections and Recommendation Systems," Alessandro Acquisti, draft. Carnegie Mellon University, 2003.

Transition Economics

"Grime and Punishment: Job Insecurity and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," Hartmut Lehmann, Jonathan Wadsworth and Alessandro Acquisti. Journal of Comparative Economics, 27, 595-617, 1999.

"Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Russian Federation," Alessandro Acquisti and Hartmut Lehmann. Revised and resubmitted. Also available as Trinity Economic Papers, 1/00, 2000.

Human-Agent Interaction

"Adjustable Autonomy and Human-Agent Teamwork in Practice: An Interim Report on Space Applications," J. M. Bradshaw, M. Sierhuis, A. Acquisti, P. Feltovich, R. Hoffman, R. Jeffers, D. Prescott, N. Suri, A. Uszok, and R. van Hoof. Forthcoming in: H. Hexmoor and R. Falcone (eds), Agent Autonomy. Kluwer, 2003.

"Human-Agent Teamwork and Adjustable Autonomy in Practice," Maarten Sierhuis, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Alessandro Acquisti, Ron van Hoof, Renia Jeffers, and Andrzej Uszok. 7th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence (I-sairas), NARA, JAPAN, May 2003.

"Living With Agents and Liking It: Addressing the Technical and Social Acceptability of Agent Technology," Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Maarten Sierhuis, Alessandro Acquisti, Paul Feltovich, Robert Hoffman, Renia Jeffers, Niranjan Suri, Andrzej Uszok, and Ron Van Hoof. 2003 AAAI Spring Symposia - Human Interaction with Autonomous Systems in Complex Environments.

"Representation and Reasoning for DAML-based Policy and Domain Services in KaOS and Nomads," J. M. Bradshaw, A. Uszok, R. Jeffers, N. Suri, P. Hayes, M. Burstein, A. Acquisti, et al. Proceedings of the 2nd ACM International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents & Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 03). Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. July 2003. ACM Press, 835-842.

"Multi-agent Plan Execution and Work Practice: Modeling plans and practices onboard the ISS," Maarten Sierhuis, Alessandro Acquisti, and William Clancey. Proceedings of the 3rd International NASA Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space, Houston, TX, October 2002.

"What We Can Learn About Human-Agent Teamwork From Practice," J. Bradshaw, M. Sierhuis, A. Acquisti, Y. Gawdiak, D. Prescott, R. Jeffers, N. Suri, and R. van Hoof. Workshop on Teamwork and Coalition Formation, Autonomous Agents and Multi-agent Systems (AAMAS 02), Bologna, Italy, August 2002.

"A Work Practice Model of a Day in the Life Onboard the International Space Station," Alessandro Acquisti and Maarten Sierhuis.

Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory Conference (CASOS 02), Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, June 2002.

"Agent-based Modeling of Collaboration and Work Practices onboard the International Space Station," Alessandro Acquisti, Maarten Sierhuis, William Clancey, and Jeffrey Bradshaw. Proceedings of the 11th Conference on Computer-Generated Forces and Behavior Representation (CGF 02), Orlando, FL, May 2002, 181-188.

"Agent-based Modeling of Collaboration and Work Practices onboard the International Space Station," Alessandro Acquisti, Maarten Sierhuis, William Clancey, and Jeffrey Bradshaw. UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference on Computational Social Science: Agent-Based Modeling in the Social Sciences, Lake Arrowhead, CA, May 2002.

"Brahms Tutorial," Alessandro Acquisti, William Clancey, Ron van Hoof, Mike Scott and Maarten Sierhuis. Brahms TM01-0002, 167 pages, NASA Ames Research Center, 2001.

"ISS/PSA Brahms Model," Alessandro Acquisti and Maarten Sierhuis. Brahms TM01-0004, NASA Ames Research Center, 2001.