The Unexpected Benefits of Paying for Information: The Effects of Payment on Information Source Choices and Epistemic Thinking

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

People often need to select, evaluate, and integrate information from diverse online sources to support decision-making processes in everyday life. Information is a product which is often available for free, but which people are willing to pay for. Free access to information can presumably facilitate greater use of information sources, thereby leading to improved learning and knowledge. But does it? Is “more of a good thing” actually better? This study examined how paying for information affects information source choices and information consumers’ epistemic perspectives regarding the status and justification of knowledge. 106 university students participated in an experiment presenting an online information store in which participants acquired information products in order to reach a decision concerning a controversial health topic. Participants were assigned to two pricing conditions; one with paid information based on an incentive-compatible bidding mechanism (payment condition) and the other with information offered at a zero price (free condition). Results indicated that in the payment condition, participants accessed fewer information sources but that these sources were more diverse and balanced in their positions. Differences in epistemic perspectives emerged between the two conditions, suggesting payment requirements affected epistemic perspectives. Specifically, in the payment condition, evaluativism was higher and absolutism was lower than in the free condition. This is the first study to indicate a potential relation between the consumption characteristics of information products and the epistemic thinking of information users. The study has theoretical and practical implications, connecting the fields of information economics and personal epistemology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives in Business Informatics Research - 18th International Conference, BIR 2019, Proceedings
EditorsMalgorzata Pankowska, Kurt Sandkuhl
PublisherSpringer
Pages163-176
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783030311421
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
Event18th International Conference on Perspectives in Business Informatics Research, BIR 2019 - Katowice, Poland
Duration: 23 Sep 201925 Sep 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
Volume365
ISSN (Print)1865-1348
ISSN (Electronic)1865-1356

Conference

Conference18th International Conference on Perspectives in Business Informatics Research, BIR 2019
Country/TerritoryPoland
CityKatowice
Period23/09/1925/09/19

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Keywords

  • Epistemic thinking
  • Free information
  • Information consumption
  • Paid information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Management Information Systems
  • Business and International Management
  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Information Systems and Management

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