Citizens' Juries and Valuing the Environment

Many decisions hang on the value that will be lost if the environment is harmed. Environmental cost‐benefit analysis depends on the existence of a single monetary measure of such losses, even when there is no market to establish a price. In a new approach to valuation, a citizens' jury is asked to come to a collective conclusion over what it is worth to preserve the environment. A small but socially representative group of citizens is provided with the time and the information needed to deliberate over this question. This method has distinct advantages over those typically used by economists, not least because it is more satisfactory from the point of view of normative democratic theory ‐ democratic deliberation among citizens makes for better decisions over the environment and significantly extends the range of cost‐benefit analysis.


Hugh Ward
Published in: Environmental Politics
1999 Volume 8, Issue 2 Pages 75-96