Are all risk perceptions created equal? Comparing general risk assessments and specific risk assessments associated with climate change Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. For policy-making to address public risk perceptions effectively, policy-makers must have a clear understanding of the nature of public risks. Public opinion polls regularly solicit perceptions of risk toward a variety of topics. These assessments, though, tend to be general with no specificity offered for a nuanced interpretation. Yet, there is good reason to assume that risk perceptions are not based on the same criteria. If true, policy-makers may be unable to address risks adequately without a better understanding of the drivers of risk perceptions. This project focuses on two primary research questions: (1) Does the public weigh the risk associated with global climate change differently in specific sub-domains? (2) If so, which climate change sub-domains are various members of the public most concerned about when offering a general assessment of global climate change risk? We assess public risk perceptions of climate change in three sub-domains—public health, economic development, and environment—and find that two of the three sub-domains are predictors of a general assessment of risk.

author list (cited authors)

  • Stoutenborough, J. W., Vedlitz, A., & Xing, X.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • January 2016