Public policies related to health and safety risks in Europe and the United States show different patterns of precaution, yet in complex ways that make simple explanations elusive (Wiener and Rogers 2002). Among the factors identified as possible explanations for these differences in precautionary concern are cultural differences in risk perception and preferences. In this chapter, we review the literature of behavioral decision theory and cross-cultural research that compares risk perceptions and preferences in different countries. We show that there are cross-cultural differences in the perception of risks and thus in people's apparent willingness to take such risks. But we also find that this phenomenon has not yet been systematically explored and that much research on the topic remains to be done.The attached PDF is a preprint of a chapter whose final and definitive form has been published in The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Approaches to Risk Regulation in the United States and Europe, available through Taylor and Francis. Many Taylor & Francis and Routledge books are now available as eBooks through the Taylor & Francis eBookstore.
Weber, Elke, and J. S. Ancker. "Risk Perceptions and Risk Attitudes in the U.S. and Europe." In The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Approaches to Risk Regulation in the United States and Europe. Ed. J. B. Wiener, M. D. Rogers, P. H. Sand, and J. K. Hammitt. Oxford: Taylor & Francis, December 2010.
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