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Abstract

This article critically reflects on the widely held view of a causal chain with trust in public authorities impacting technology acceptance via perceived risk. It first puts forward conceptual reason against this view, as the presence of risk is a precondition for trust playing a role in decision making. Second, results from consumer surveys in Italy and Germany are presented that support the associationist model as counter hypothesis. In that view, trust and risk judgments are driven by and thus simply indicators of higher order attitudes toward a certain technology which determine acceptance instead. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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