In this research article Huberman, Adar, and Fine propose that individuals have a price or value on the data which they are willing to reveal, and this price is connected with the perceived desirability of the personal trait in the group to which they are seeking to reveal their information. They propose that their is a direct correlation between the perceived desirability of the trait and the price which people place on the data. Where the trait has a low perceived desirability the price demanded for this data will be high.
As an example they asked participants to value their weight and they demonstrated a linear relationship between a person’s weight and the price they put on giving up this information. They also noted that a person’s attitude to privacy affected the price they charged with those who were concerned most about privacy demanding a higher price for personal data than those who cared little for privacy.
Their research suggests therefore, that self-publication increases as the payoff increases. This helps explain why people tend to reveal much about themselves in apparently “closed” groups as a way to achieve group acceptance or popularity.
It seems the law of supply and demand are alive and well when it comes to privacy.