Alessandro Acquisti
Heinz College - CMU

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Economic Analysis

Description

This is a course in microeconomics and its implications for management and strategy - particularly but not exclusively in the context of information technology firms. Microeconomics as discussed in this course focuses on the models and methods by which managers can analyze their market and organizational environment to make optimal decisions. The key to such optimal decision-making is an understanding of the trade-offs in allocating scarce resources. The core models of microeconomics are fundamental to more applied areas of management such as strategy, marketing, production, and finance.

Sample syllabus information

Privacy in the Digital Age

Description

The reduction of the cost of storing and manipulating information has led organizations to capture increasing amounts of information about individual behavior. New trade-offs have emerged for parties involved with privacy-enhancing or intrusive technologies: individuals want to avoid the misuse of the information they pass along to others, but they also want to share enough information to achieve satisfactory interactions; organizations want to know more about the parties with which they interact, but they do not want to alienate them with policies deemed as intrusive. Is there a "sweet" spot that satisfies the interests of all parties? Is there a combination of technological solutions, economic incentives, and legal safeguards that is acceptable for the individual and beneficial to society?

Privacy is a complex and multi-faceted concept. This course combines technical, economic, legal, and policy perspectives to present a holistic view of its role and value in the digital age. It begins by comparing early definitions of privacy to the current information-focused debate. It then focuses on:

- technological aspects of privacy (privacy concerns raised by new IT such as the Internet, wireless communications, and computer matching; tracking techniques and data mining; privacy enhancing technologies and anonymous protocols;)

- economic aspects (economic models of the market for privacy; financial risks caused by privacy violations; the value of customer information; );

- legal aspects (laissez-faire versus regulated approaches; US versus EU legal safeguards; )

- managerial implications (the emerging role of Chief Privacy Officers; compulsory directives and self-regulative efforts;)

- policy aspects (trade-offs between individual privacy rights and societal needs; )

Sample Syllabus information

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