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Gender, race, and perceived risk: the ‘white male' effect

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Risks tend to be judged lower by men than by women and by white people than by people of colour. Prior research by Flynn, Slovic and Mertz [Risk Analysis, 14, pp. 1101-1108] found that these race and gender differences in risk perception in the United States were primarily due to 30% of the white male population who judge risks to be extremely low. The specificity of this finding suggests an explanation in terms of sociopolitical factors rather than biological factors. The study reported here presents new data from a recent national survey conducted in the United States. Although white males again stood apart with respect to their judgements of risk and their attitudes concerning worldviews, trust, and risk-related stigma, the results showed that the distinction between white males and others is more complex than originally thought. Further investigation of sociopolitical factors in risk judgements is recommended to clarify gender and racial differences.


Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Decision Research, 1201 Oak Street, Eugene, OR 97401, USA

Publication date: 2000-07-01

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