This paper examines whether national differences in political culture add an explanatory dimension to the formulation of policy in the area of biotechnology, especially with respect to genetically modified food. The analysis links the formulation of protective regulatory policies governing genetically modified food to both country and region-specific differences in uncertainty tolerance levels and risk perceptions in the United States, Canada, and European Union. Based on polling data and document analysis, the findings illustrate that these differences matter. Following a mostly opportunistic risk perception within an environment of high tolerance for uncertainty, policymakers in the United States and Canada modified existing regulatory frameworks that govern genetically modified food in their respective countries. In contrast, the mostly cautious perception of new food technologies and low tolerance for uncertainty among European Union member states has contributed to the creation of elaborate and stringent regulatory policies governing genetically modified food.
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