Trust in governance and the acceptance of genetically modified food in the Netherlands

Jan M. Gutteling, Lucien Hanssen, L.S.A.M. Hanssen, Neil van der Veer, E.R. Seydel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


This paper assumes that trust is a major issue in the interaction between government, citizens and societal organizations. The central question in this paper relates to the specific determinants of public trust. A survey study is reported (n = 1019) which focuses on the role of trust in the acceptance of genetically modified (GM) food. Our expectation was that three types of trust: "trust in governance," "trust in government," and "trust in NGOs" would be important predictors of the public acceptance of GM food. The data were collected in the summer of 2001 in the context of the formal Dutch public debate on GM food. The results indicate that 42 percent of the respondents do not trust developments in GM food. Only a third of the sample does trust the government with respect to GM food developments. Approximately 50 percent of the respondents express a high level of trust in nongovernmental organizations for this issue. The data further show that trust in governance seems to be an important constraint for the further development of GM food in the Netherlands. With higher levels of trust in governance people have a more positive attitude toward GM food, are more likely to accept it, and are more optimistic about technological developments
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)103-112
JournalPublic understanding of science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • METIS-233049
  • IR-57696

Cite this