What are shared and social values of ecosystems? Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

published proceedings

  • Ecological Economics

altmetric score

  • 8.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Kenter, J. O., O'Brien, L., Hockley, N., Ravenscroft, N., Fazey, I., Irvine, K. N., ... Williams, S.

citation count

  • 293

complete list of authors

  • 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

publication date

  • March 2015