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Mitigation and Benefits Measures as Policy Tools for Siting Potentially Hazardous Facilities: Determinants of Effectiveness and Appropriateness

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How do mitigation and benefits measures affect public acceptance for siting different kinds of potentially hazardous facilities? What kinds of benefits measures are seen as most (or least) appropriate for different kinds of facilities? This study used a nationwide telephone survey consisting of 1,234 interviews with randomly selected respondents to test for the effects of packages of safety and benefits measures for siting a landfill, prison, incinerator and nuclear waste repository. The experimental design used in the survey permits analysis of the fractions of respondents who are willing to change their initial levels of acceptance (or opposition) when presented with a sequence of the safety and benefit measures. The measures vary significantly in their impact on levels of acceptance for the facilities, and some measures that would at face value appear to reassure residents of facility safety turn out to lack credibility and therefore diminish facility acceptance. Ordering of the benefits versus safety measures significantly affects changes in acceptance in surprising ways. The perceived appropriateness of different kinds of benefits measures varies systematically by the type of facility under consideration. It appears that successful benefits packages will directly address the underlying dimensions of concern caused by the facility. These findings point to the importance of further research on “commensurable” benefits measures.
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Keywords: Hazardous facilities; compensation; mitigation; risk perception; siting

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: University of New Mexico Institute for Public Policy, Albuquerque, NM., 2: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Publication date: 01 April 2001

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