This study advances scholarly debate on the impact of confidence and trust on flood risk perceptions using data from a random sample of 403 residents in New Orleans, a U.S. coastal city with hundreds of miles of levees to protect the city from flooding. The research focuses on several predictors including specific trust measures of local, state, and federal authorities, sociodemographic characteristics, and experience with flood damage. Using ordinal logistic regression, we find that residents who perceive the levee system as unlikely to protect their homes and the city are significantly more likely to perceive an increased risk of flooding. Previous flood experience, age, female gender, and race were also significant predictors of flood risk perception. In contrast to prevailing risk research that has found that general trust and general confidence negatively affect risk perception, our findings show mixed support for the hypothesis that higher levels of confidence and trust result in lower perceptions of risk. Our findings reveal the nuances of risk perception and suggest that specific notions of trust and confidence can have positive and negative influences on flood risk perception depending on respondent views toward flood protection systems and specific institutions and government agencies.
- Cannon, Clare, E. B. with co-authors Kevin Gotham, Tulane University, Katie Lauve-Moon, TCU, and Brad Powers, Tulane University
- Accepted at Journal of Risk Research