Comparing instrumental and deliberative paradigms which underpin the assessment of social values for cultural ecosystem services.

Chris Raymond, Jasper Kenter, Tobias Plieninger, Nancy Turner, Karen Alexander

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Despite rapid advancements in the development of non-monetary techniques for the assessment of social values for ecosystem services, little research attention has been devoted to the evaluation of their underpinning paradigms. This study evaluates two contrasting paradigms for the assessment of social values in non-monetary terms: an instrumental paradigm involving an objective assessment of the distribution, type and/or intensity of values that individuals assign to the current state of ecosystems and a deliberative paradigm involving the exploration of desired end states through group discussion. We present and then justify through case examples two approaches for assessing social values for ecosystem services using the instrumental paradigm and two approaches using the deliberative paradigm. Each approach makes different assumptions about: the underlying rationale for values assessment; the process through which values are elicited; the type of representativeness sought, and; the degree of involvement of decision-makers. However, case examples demonstrate that the boundaries between instrumental and deliberative paradigms are often not concrete. To accommodate this fluidity, we offer a third, pragmatic paradigm that integrates some of the qualities of both. This paradigm has implications for engaging multiple community groups and decision-makers in the articulation and mapping of social values for cultural ecosystem services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-156
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Economics
Early online date29 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014



  • Social values;
  • Instrumental valuation
  • Deliberative valuation;
  • Ecosystem services;
  • Non-monetary valuation;
  • Non-economic valuation;
  • Participatory mapping;

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