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    Risk perception

  • The framework from which the public perceives risk is broader and richer than that of risk assessment. The following five factors influence how the public judges the acceptability of a risk assessed at a given magnitude.
  • Voluntariness : A risk that is voluntarily taken is more acceptable than a risk of the same magnitude that taken involuntarily. Thus, driving one's car to a public hearing on the risks of a proposed nuclear power plant may be riskier than living next to the plant. But driving to the public hearings is done voluntarily while living next to the plant is suffered involuntarily. According to studies, a voluntary risk is as much as 1000 times more acceptable than an involuntary risk of the same magnitude.
  • Control : Closely related to voluntariness is control. A risk under one's control (or under the control of someone trusted) is more acceptable than a risk of the same magnitude that is not under control. Charles Perrow, in Normal Accidents argues against nuclear energy technology because its design allows for components that are tightly coupled and interact with nonlinear patterns of causality. These two characteristics make it possible for small events to start chain reactions that issue into large scale disasters. Because these small events cannot be isolated (they are “tightly coupled”) and because they interact unpredictably (they display nonlinear causality), they escape control and lead to unacceptable risks.
  • Perceived/Expected Benefits : A risk of a given magnitude is more acceptable if it comes accompanied with substantial expected benefits. One takes the risk of driving to the hearings on the proposed nuclear plant because the benefits of getting crucial information on this project outweigh the risks of having a car accident. Riding a motorcycle is a risky venture. But the benefits received from this activity in the form of enjoyment make the risk more acceptable than a risk of the same magnitude accompanied with less benefits.
  • Unknown Factors : A risk that is not understood is less acceptable than one that is well understood. Riding a bicycle is a risky venture but, because its risks are well known, it is more acceptable than other activities accompanied by risks of similar magnitudes. This factor is highly pertinent to EMFs (electro-magnetic fields). While EMFs are associated with certain illnesses like leukemia, their effects are not well known and are not understood by the public. This unknown element makes living near EMF producing technologies less acceptable.
  • Dread Factors : A risk may be known and its causal relation to certain illnesses well understood. Nevertheless it may be less acceptable because the condition it causes is one that is highly dreaded. EMFs, because they have been associated with leukemia in children, are much less acceptable because of this "dread factor." The causes of radiation sickness are well known as are the stages of the illness. But because this kind of illness is highly dreaded, accompanying risks are less acceptable than other risks of the same magnitude with less of the dread factor. Again, compare crashing on a bicycle with coming down with cancer to get an idea of how dread permeates the perception of risk.
  • Against Paternalism : Consider the possibility that predictability is one component of rationality. Then test this hypothesis in the cases presented at the beginning of this module. Can the risks posed by each project be examined in terms voluntariness, susceptibility to control, expected benefits, unknown factors, and dread factors? If so, then the public perception of this risk is rational because it can be predicted and understood. Thus, even though members of the public might find other risks of the same--or even greater--magnitude more acceptable, these perceptual factors would render the public’s judgment intelligible and predictable. If all of this is so (and you will be testing this hypothesis in the exercises below) then paternalism on the part of the expert would not be justified. Furthermore, these insights into how risk is perceived by the public should provide you with valuable insight into how to communicate risk to the public.

Questions & Answers

important of enocomic
Adu Reply
what is division of labour
Dennis Reply
division of labour can be defined as the separation of task to individuals in any economic system to specialize on it.
what is demand curve
Victoria Reply
demand curve is a downward sloping economic graph that shows the relationship between the price of product and the quantity of the product demanded.
What is demand
Frank Reply
It refers to the quantity of a commodity purchased in the market at a price and at a point of time.
refers to amount of commodities a consumer is willing and able to buy at particular price within a period of time
It is the ability and willingness a customer buys a product or service at a particular price, place and time while other things remaining constant or the same
In which case is opportunity cost is zero
Francis Reply
where no alternative is available
who is the father of economic
Omar Reply
Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam smith
Adam Smith
What is monopoly
Mauthoor Reply
it an economic situation where one individual controls the essential commodities or value product for maximum profit
monopoly is a market situation in which there is only one producer of a good or service which has no close substitutes
is where only one person is solely the price taker
what is Monopoly
Dauda Reply
The word Monopoly is a Latin word. it is the combination of two words-Mono means single and Poly means seller. thus Monopoly means single seller. but this is not the full meaning of Monopoly. Monopoly must produce a product which does not have close substitute in the market.
Monopoly is define as a firm in an industry with very high barriers to entry.
If close substitute is available, Monopoly will be a king without a crown.
what does it array
Cbdishakur Reply
what are the differences between monopoly and.oligopoly
Onome Reply
what are the difference between monopoly and oligopoly
The deference between Monopoly and Oligopoly: Monopoly means:A single-firm-Industry producing and selling a product having no close business and Oligopoly means:A market structure where a few sellers compete with each other and each controls a significant portion of market .
so that the price-output policy one affects the other.
what are difference between physical policy and monotory policy
what is economic
Emakpor Reply
what is economic
the word economic was derived from the Greek word oikos (a house)and mein(to manage) which in effect meant managing a household with the limited funds available 🙂.
good excample about scarsity
An Enquiry into the nature and causes of wealth Nations, this book clearly defined what economic is🙂🙂🙏🙏 thank you...
good example about scarcity: money,time, energy, human or natural resources. Scarcity of resources implies that there supply is very much limited in relation to demand.
equilibrium is a situation in which economic forces such as demand and supply are balanced and in the absence of external influences,the value of economic variables will not change
Onome Reply
marginal cost and marginal revenue is equilibrium .
what is equilibrium
Rodrice Reply
policy prescriptions for unemployment
Jeslyne Reply
Am working on it
what are the factors effecting demand sedule
Kalimu Reply
we should talk about more important topics, you can search it on Google n u will find your answer we should try to focus on how we can improve our society using economics
so good night
Why do people buy more grapes in December than in July?
because at time know money
While the American heart association suggests that meditation might be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments as a way to manage hypertension
Beverly Reply
in a comparison of the stages of meiosis to the stage of mitosis, which stages are unique to meiosis and which stages have the same event in botg meiosis and mitosis
Leah Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Civis project - uprm. OpenStax CNX. Nov 20, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11359/1.4
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