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Modeling social risk amplification during recall crises

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Public response to risk is socially shaped in a way that often severely over- or under-estimates expert risk assessments. One of the main theoretical tools to examine public risk responses of this kind is the social amplification of risk framework. An important finding is that social amplification is strongly influenced by the conduct of those managing a risk. This study models social risk amplification as a collective response to risks that are significant at a societal level but which materialize in a distributed way across a population. It uses the context of product contamination risks and product recalls to show how organizational decision making and the multiple roles of the media can be represented by the model. It shows how a model can be partially calibrated with a consumer survey, and shows which are the most important aspects of the model in shaping social risk amplification.