Risk Communication under Conflicting Information: The Role of Confidence in Subjective Risk Assessment

  •  Takashi Ishida    
  •  Atsushi Maruyama    
  •  Shinichi Kurihara    


In this study, we develop a model of food consumption with a focus on the subjectively assessed risk of consumers and their degree of confidence in their risk assessment and use it to examine consumer behavior in the chaotic situation created by the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. The data were collected in March 2012 using a mail survey for 1300 Japanese women, the primary food purchasers. The respondents were asked to evaluate the cancer risk of eating agricultural products, which were assumed to be grown in the affected area, despite meeting national regulatory standards for radioactive materials, as a measure of their risk assessment and willingness to purchase Fukushima beef. The results show that the effect of confidence in a consumer’s risk assessment on their behavior depends on the stated risk level: when stated risk is below an estimated critical value, termed the switching point, the risk perceived by a consumer without confidence exceeds that of one with confidence. On the other hand, perceived risk is inversely related to confidence when the stated risk exceeds the switching point.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0887
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0895
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: quarterly

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