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Agreeing to pay under value disagreement: Reconceptualizing preference transformation in terms of pluralism with evidence from small-group deliberations on climate change


  • Lo, Alex Y.


Plural values contribute to multiple arrays of expressed preferences. Conventionally, preference convergence toward consensus among initially disagreeing decision makers is understood in terms of diminishing value differences. A cogent account of consensual decision that respects non-diminishing value plurality is lacking. Instead there is a theoretic expectation for categorical consistency between subjective values and expressed preferences. Valuing agents in social interaction are expected to indicate identical preference orderings only if they hold correspondingly identical categories of values. This expectation precludes meaningful conceptualization of preference convergence under divisive normative dispositions. An alternative framework is proposed and illustrated by results from a designed deliberative forum on Australia's climate change policy. Data were analyzed based on Q methodology. Results show that small-group deliberations enabled effective communication between distinctive subjective positions and broadened understandings between individuals. While a consensual decision gained progress, no identified value discourse diminished below a significant degree. Observed changes in values did not run parallel to the converging preferences, suggesting a decline in value-preference consistency. These changes nonetheless are amenable to the principle of value pluralism. An alternative rationality concept is needed to account for this moral ideal within economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Lo, Alex Y., 2013. "Agreeing to pay under value disagreement: Reconceptualizing preference transformation in terms of pluralism with evidence from small-group deliberations on climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 84-94.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:87:y:2013:i:c:p:84-94
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.12.014

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    Cited by:

    1. Dryzek, John S. & Pickering, Jonathan, 2017. "Deliberation as a catalyst for reflexive environmental governance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 353-360.
    2. Kenter, Jasper O. & Reed, Mark S. & Fazey, Ioan, 2016. "The Deliberative Value Formation model," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 21(PB), pages 194-207.
    3. Kenter, Jasper O. & Bryce, Rosalind & Christie, Michael & Cooper, Nigel & Hockley, Neal & Irvine, Katherine N. & Fazey, Ioan & O’Brien, Liz & Orchard-Webb, Johanne & Ravenscroft, Neil & Raymond, Chr, 2016. "Shared values and deliberative valuation: Future directions," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 21(PB), pages 358-371.
    4. Jaung, Wanggi & Putzel, Louis & Bull, Gary Q. & Kozak, Robert & Markum,, 2016. "Certification of forest watershed services: A Q methodology analysis of opportunities and challenges in Lombok, Indonesia," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 22(PA), pages 51-59.
    5. Irvine, Katherine N. & O’Brien, Liz & Ravenscroft, Neil & Cooper, Nigel & Everard, Mark & Fazey, Ioan & Reed, Mark S. & Kenter, Jasper O., 2016. "Ecosystem services and the idea of shared values," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 21(PB), pages 184-193.
    6. Vargas, Andrés & Lo, Alex Y. & Rohde, Nicholas & Howes, Michael, 2016. "Background inequality and differential participation in deliberative valuation: Lessons from small-group discussions on forest conservation in Colombia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 104-111.
    7. Del Corso, Jean-Pierre & Kephaliacos, Charilaos & Plumecocq, Gaël, 2015. "Legitimizing farmers' new knowledge, learning and practices through communicative action: Application of an agro-environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 86-96.
    8. Bartkowski, Bartosz & Lienhoop, Nele, 2018. "Beyond Rationality, Towards Reasonableness: Enriching the Theoretical Foundation of Deliberative Monetary Valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 97-104.
    9. Ranger, S. & Kenter, J.O. & Bryce, R. & Cumming, G. & Dapling, T. & Lawes, E. & Richardson, P.B., 2016. "Forming shared values in conservation management: An interpretive-deliberative-democratic approach to including community voices," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 21(PB), pages 344-357.
    10. Lienhoop, Nele & Schröter-Schlaack, Christoph, 2018. "Involving multiple actors in ecosystem service governance: Exploring the role of stated preference valuation," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 34(PB), pages 181-188.
    11. 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, 2015. "What are shared and social values of ecosystems?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 86-99.
    12. Jeanloz, Sarah & Lizin, Sebastien & Beenaerts, Natalie & Brouwer, Roy & Van Passel, Steven & Witters, Nele, 2016. "Towards a more structured selection process for attributes and levels in choice experiments: A study in a Belgian protected area," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 45-57.


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