The role of rationality in information privacy intention and behavior is a topic of long and enduring interest. Some popular privacy models and concepts, such as privacy calculus and the privacy paradox, among others, use rationality as their basis. However, in this paper, we present the concept of rational ignorance, which may help advance conversations about the role of rationality in privacy decision-making and behavior. Rational ignorance, in essence, states that when individuals believe that the costs of seeking and acquiring information exceed the benefits of that information, they will not acquire the information and will choose to remain ignorant. We describe rational ignorance and its genesis in political economics and discuss how rational ignorance may serve as a privacy pre-calculus. We also outline several avenues for future research.
Van Slyke, Craig; Parikh, Mihir; Joseph, Damien; and Clary, W. Grant, "Rational ignorance: A privacy pre-calculus" (2021). WISP 2021 Proceedings. 12.