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What are shared and social values of ecosystems?

Kenter, Jasper O.; O'Brien, Liz; Hockley, Neal; Ravenscroft, Neil; Fazey, Ioan; Irvine, Katherine N.; Reed, Mark S.; Christie, Michael; Brady, Emily; Bryce, Rosalind; Church, Andrew; Cooper, Nigel; Davies, Althea; Evely, Anna; Everard, Mark; Fish, Robert; Fisher, Janet A.; Jobstvogt, Niels; Molloy, Claire; Orchard-Webb, Johanne; Ranger, Susan; Ryan, Mandy; Watson, Verity; Williams, Susan

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Jasper O. Kenter

Liz O'Brien

Neal Hockley

Neil Ravenscroft

Ioan Fazey

Katherine N. Irvine

Mark S. Reed

Michael Christie

Emily Brady

Rosalind Bryce

Andrew Church

Nigel Cooper

Althea Davies

Anna Evely

Mark Everard
Associate Professor in Ecosystem Services

Robert Fish

Janet A. Fisher

Niels Jobstvogt

Claire Molloy

Johanne Orchard-Webb

Susan Ranger

Mandy Ryan

Verity Watson

Susan Williams


© 2015. Social valuation of ecosystem services and public policy alternatives is one of the greatest challenges facing ecological economists today. Frameworks for valuing nature increasingly include shared/social values as a distinct category of values. However, the nature of shared/social values, as well as their relationship to other values, has not yet been clearly established and empirical evidence about the importance of shared/social values for valuation of ecosystem services is lacking. To help address these theoretical and empirical limitations, this paper outlines a framework of shared/social values across five dimensions: value concept, provider, intention, scale, and elicitation process. Along these dimensions we identify seven main, non-mutually exclusive types of shared values: transcendental, cultural/societal, communal, group, deliberated and other-regarding values, and value to society. Using a case study of a recent controversial policy on forest ownership in England, we conceptualise the dynamic interplay between shared/social and individual values. The way in which social value is assessed in neoclassical economics is discussed and critiqued, followed by consideration of the relation between shared/social values and Total Economic Value, and a review of deliberative and non-monetary methods for assessing shared/social values. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of shared/social values for decision-making.


Kenter, J. O., O'Brien, L., Hockley, N., Ravenscroft, N., Fazey, I., Irvine, K. N., …Williams, S. (2015). What are shared and social values of ecosystems?. Ecological Economics, 111, 86-99.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 22, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 6, 2015
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Deposit Date Feb 18, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 21, 2016
Journal Ecological Economics
Print ISSN 0921-8009
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 111
Pages 86-99
Keywords shared values, social values, ecosystem services, environmental valuation, total economic value, deliberation, deliberative monetary valuation, non-monetary valuation, interpretive methods, psychological methods, decision-making
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