Shared and social values


Shared values handbook with frameShared values are those that bind people together, for example as citizens and as members of communities. Economics traditionally considers the values of individuals, but some of the values that people hold are not for themselves, but for others and the communities and society in which they live. These collective, shared values often relate to the landscapes people live in and visit. This handbook aims to help decision-makers make more robust decisions, based on an appreciation of the shared values that people hold together and that are distinct from individual values. It focuses on shared, plural and cultural values around managing the natural environment. However, many of the concepts and applications could be adapted to other policy areas.

This document provides suggestions for decision makers on when and how shared values can be taken into account in their decision making, providing practical information and examples of how this can be done. It discusses the use of both existing methods that are likely to be familiar to many decision-makers and new approaches. It also shows ways in which multiple tools and methods can be used together in specific policy venues and contexts. By combining methods in this way, we hope to show how readers might combine these with their own methods and procedures to integrate shared values into their decision-making processes. The handbook is based on theory and empirical evidence collected as part of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on phase.

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