Deliberative valuation is an interactive valuation method, which brings different actors (policy-makers, stakeholders and/or citizens) to form value judgements (e.g. preferences for ecosystem services) in an open dialogue with each other. The main advantage of deliberative valuation is that unlike survey-based instruments, it allows consideration of ethical beliefs, moral commitments and social norms beyond individual and collective utility. It also has the capacity to promote learning and reflection, and encourages people to extend beyond their own self-interest and construct collective judgments which reflect a more complete and socially equitable assessment of public environmental goods.
Deliberative valuation can produce qualitative expressions of value though citizen juries, focus groups and discussion forums. It can also be combined with monetary valuation and analytic-deliberative processes such as participatory multi-criteria evaluation to provide quantitative estimates. In environmental valuation studies, the most frequently used deliberative design is citizen juries which bring together a cross-section of a population, usually 10-20 members of the public, for two to five days to discuss an issue of public concern. The jurors are briefed by expert and possibly other witnesses and the group discussion are chaired by an independent moderator. The aim is to reach a considered judgment (’verdict’) about a policy or management issue though a detailed scrutiny of the relevant evidence base and consideration of the interests and ethical aspects pertaining to the situation. The results of deliberative valuation processes can be used to inform environmental management and policy processes.
Relevant papers include:
Sagoff, M. 1998. Aggregation and deliberation in valuing environmental public goods: a look beyond contingent pricing. Ecological Economics 24 (2–3): 213–230.
Wilson, M.A. & Howarth, R.B. 2002. Discourse-based valuation of ecosystem services: establishing fair outcomes through group deliberation. Ecological Economics 41: 431–43.