SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration
Gene Technology in the eyes of the public and experts. Moral opinions, attitudes and risk perception.
Abstract: Risk perceptions and attitudes to genetically modified
food (GMF) were investigated in a survey study of the public (N=469) and
experts (N=49). The response rate was 47 percent for the public. For the
experts, response rate was 60 percent. GMF technology was rated as the
worst of 18 technologies by members of the public and highly replaceable.
Experts had a very different view but also saw GMF as replaceable. Models
of risk perceptions and attitudes with regard to policy and consumer
intentions were fitted to data. It was found that a very large share of the
variance, about 70 percent, was accounted for in the latter cases, while
risk perception was somewhat harder to account for (about 50 percent was
explained). Traditional explanatory factors such as Dread and Novelty were
weak explanatory factors as compared to new approaches, which included
Interfering with Nature, Moral value of technology and Epistemic trust.
Experts were throughout much more positive to GMF than were members of the
public. However, their attitudes and risk perceptions still showed dynamic
properties similar to those found in the data from the public. The
differences between experts and the public could be well explained in terms
of the models tested. In comparisons with recent Eurobarometer studies of
attitudes towards GMF, risk emerged in the present study as a more
important factor in attitudes, equally important as benefits. The models
formulated for the present data were about twice as powerful as those in
published analyses of Eurobarometer data.
Keywords: Gene technology; risk perception; policy attitude; consumer behavior; experts; epistemic trust; risk sensitivity; (follow links to similar papers)
54 pages, June 7, 2004, Revised May 11, 2005
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- This paper is published as:
Sjöberg, Lennart, (2008), 'Genetically modified food in the eyes of the public and experts', Risk Management: An International Journal, Vol. 10, No. 3, pages 168-193
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