A Theoretical Approach to Deliberative Valuation: Aggregation by Mutual Consent

Richard B. Howarth and Matthew A. Wilson


In deliberative valuation, a small group of selected persons explores the values that should guide collective decisions through a process of reasoned discourse. Proponents argue that deliberative techniques enhance the effectiveness and perceived legitimacy of policy making by facilitating public participation. This paper outlines an approach to deliberative valuation that is grounded in democratic theory, social psychology, and cooperative game theory, emphasizing applications to the monetary valuation of environmental services. The analysis suggests that deliberative groups that employ consent-based choice rules may aggregate individual values in a manner that systematically departs from the additive aggregation procedures of standard cost-benefit analysis. (JEL Q20)

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