Big Data and Personalized Pricing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Technological advances introduce the possibility that, in the future, firms will be able to use big-data analysis to discover and offer consumers their individual reservation price (i.e., the highest price each consumer would be willing to pay, given their preferences and available income). This can generate some interesting benefits, such as a better state of affairs in terms of equality of both welfare and resources, as well as increased social welfare. However, these benefits are countered by considerations of relational equality. This article takes up the market-failures approach as its basis to demonstrate what is wrong with using big data to personalize prices. The article offers an improvement to the market-failures approach and argues that what is wrong with using big data to personalize prices is that it unfairly undermines consumers' ability to benefit from the market, which is the very point of having a market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-117
Number of pages21
JournalBusiness Ethics Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Society for Business Ethics 2019.


  • big data
  • consumer fairness
  • market-failures approach
  • personalized pricing
  • price discrimination
  • relational equality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Philosophy
  • Economics and Econometrics


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