SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration
Upplevelser av Hot och Kriser
Abstract: This is a study of perceived threats to society, with a
special interest in new and future threats. An extensive questionnaire was
mailed to 250 respondents, 61 percent responded. The respondents came from
all strata of society but with a bias in favor of those with a high level
of education. Data analyses showed, however, that the bias probably did not
compromise the generality of the results.
By way of summary, the
respondents seem to have felt that the most important new and future
threats were associated with war and international conflicts, crime and
social disruption, and certain environmental threats and new illnesses.
The probability of military aggression against our country was judged as
quite small but that judgment did not imply that the respondents also
thought it was less important to mitigate that risk. In turn, this is
explained by the finding that they considered that the consequences of an
attack and/or occupation would be very negative.
In a more
theoretically motivated part of the study there was an investigation of
activity vs consequences as the driving factor behind risk attitudes. In
addition, I studied probabilities. The results were very clear. Activity
risks were not important as driving factors behind risk attitudes; it was
found that the important factor was that of how serious the consequences
were judged to be in good agreement with other research. Probabilities were
also less important than consequences.
A direct question about what are
important factors behind demand for risk mitigation was also posed. Most of
the suggested alternatives were popular as explanations, except media
attention, novelty of the risk and low costs of mitigation.
also some comparative questions about resource allocation in the survey.
Only a minority wanted to decrease resources for the defense, but that
minority was fairly large and larger for the defense budget than for any
other of the society sectors that were investigated. When it came to
perceived influence on policy by the people, the respondents saw it as very
small indeed. This was true rather generally but defense policies were
among those that were most often considered to be conducted with little
Keywords: Threats; risk perception; (follow links to similar papers)
50 pages, January 2001
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