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Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041092

Benefit and Risk Perceptions of Controversial Facilities: A Comparison between Local Officials and the Public in China

1
,
1
and
1,2,*
1
Political Science and Public Administration School, Shandong University, Qingdao 266000, China
2
Center for Crisis Management Research (Sponsored by Beijing Planning Office of Philosophy & Social Science), School of Public Policy & Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disasters, Crisis, Hazards, Emergencies and Sustainable Development)
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Abstract

This article investigates the perception biases of local government officials and the general public by comparing their benefit and risk perceptions towards controversial facilities. The analysis framework of Social Judgement Theory (SJT)—i.e., (a) economic benefits, (b) environmental health, and (c) social and political factors—was used to design the research. SJT is a widely recognized theoretical framework that includes experimental approaches to the study of cognitive conflicts. An experimental survey was conducted to collect data in order to make a comparison of the weight of different elements. Results demonstrate that there are perception differences between the general public and local officials on controversial facilities. Local officials responsible for endorsing and supervising plants attach more significance to environmental factors than the public, while the public focuses more on social and political factors than officials. There is no significant difference in the cognition of economic benefits. Factors such as demolition compensation and legitimacy may provoke these perception gaps. This paper enriches the current understanding of SJT and policy making for controversial facilities by investigating the perception gaps between officials and the general public. View Full-Text
Keywords: officials; controversial facilities; benefit perception; risk perception; Social Judgement Theory; China officials; controversial facilities; benefit perception; risk perception; Social Judgement Theory; China
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Mao, Q.; Zhang, M.; Ma, B. Benefit and Risk Perceptions of Controversial Facilities: A Comparison between Local Officials and the Public in China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1092.

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