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Deliberative Valuation

Using the resource
Requirements for using the resource:
<p>Skilled facilitators</p>
Potential benefits from using the resource
Integrates various form of knowledge (e.g. local, traditional, expert, scientific)
Allows for social learning among the participants and the general public
Improves the understanding of plural and incommensurable values
Increases the legitimacy of decisions that build on the outcomes of deliberation
Potential limitations from using the resource
Operates with small samples which are not statistically representative
Timely process requiring facilitation skills
It has to be combined with other approaches (e.g. MCDA) to reach quantitative results
Its success depends on participants’ availability and commitment to the process
Contact details
Dr Heli Saarikoski, Finnish Environment Institute
Phone number:
+ 358 295 251 5
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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.


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