Trust, acceptance and knowledge of technological and environmental hazards in Chile

Nicolas C. Bronfman, Esperanza Lopez Vazquez, Virna Vaneza Gutierrez, Luis Abdon Cifuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Studies over the past decade have found empirical links between trust in risk management institutions and the risk perceptions and acceptability of various individual hazards. Mostly addressing food technologies, no study to date has explored wider possible relationships among all four core variables (risk, benefit, trust and acceptability) covering a heterogeneous group of hazards. Our prime objective was to ascertain effects among social trust in regulatory entities, and the public's perceived risk, perceived benefit and the degree of acceptability towards both technological and environmental hazards. We also assess whether trust in regulatory authorities is the cause (causal model) or a consequence (associationist model) of a hazard's acceptability for a wide and heterogeneous range of hazards on all four core variables. Using a web-based survey, 539 undergraduates in Chile rated the five variables across 30 hazards. Implications for technology and environmental risk management organizations are discussed. Independent of the magnitude of the perceived risk or benefit surrounding a given hazard, or how knowledgeable the public claim to be of it, the trust sustained in regulatory institutions will either generate or be the consequence of public attitudes towards the hazard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-773
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Acceptability
  • Environmental hazards
  • Risk perception
  • Social trust
  • Technological hazards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management


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