Trust in Biotechnology Risk Managers: Insights from the United Kingdom, 1996-2002

During the late 1990s a series of negative events occurred in the United Kingdom (UK) related to biotechnology. These events signaled potential risks associated with biotech foods and crops and were highly reported. According to the trust asymmetry hypothesis, such events ought to cause public trust in risk managers of biotechnology to decline rapidly and rebound more slowly. We find, based on data taken from the Eurobarometer surveys conducted in 1996, 1999 and 2002, that public trust in risk managers did decline from 1996 to 1999. However, the level of trust rebounded sharply between 1999 and 2002. Canonical discriminant analysis of public trust is used to reveal possible explanatory factors in this response. We find that whether people trust or distrust risk managers depends significantly on the amount of objective knowledge they have. We argue that knowledge of science might moderate the trust asymmetry effect.

Issue Date:
Aug 28 2006
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
Record Identifier:
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Series Statement:
Working Paper
AEWP 2006-05

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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