Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s11625-019-00693-w
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Title (Primary) Social values and sustainability: a retrospective view on the contribution of economics
Author Massenberg, J.R.
Source Titel Sustainability Science
Year 2019
Department OEKON
Volume 14
Issue 5
Page From 1233
Page To 1246
Language englisch
Keywords Social values; Shared values; Traditions in economics; Environmental valuation; Ecosystem services; Ethics

Since the introduction of the ecosystem services (ES) concept, major discussions within sustainability sciences revolved around the values of nature. In these discussions, environmental economic valuation has been heavily criticised for falling short with regard to conceptual, ethical and methodological issues. In most cases, the critique has been limited to the realm of neoclassical economics. In particular, concerns have been voiced that economic valuation, following its individualistic and instrumental perspective, is unable to capture social values of sustainability. However, the current critique against economic theory does not account for the long traditions in economic theory dealing with social values. This is where this paper steps in: it seeks to review contributions of economic theory to the literature on social values. The aim is to shed light on theories outside neoclassical mainstream economics and to identify recurrent themes in these theories. The identified theories (among others: Kapp’s theory of social cost; Harsanyi’s utilitarianism; Sen’s theories of meta-preferences, commitment and sympathy; Buchanan’s constitutional economics; and Musgrave’s theory of merit goods) emphasise the existence of value categories that transcend individual values and narrow self-interest. Thereby, they may contribute to strengthening the theoretical foundation for the analysis and elicitation of social values of sustainability.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Massenberg, J.R. (2019):
Social values and sustainability: a retrospective view on the contribution of economics
Sustain. Sci. 14 (5), 1233 - 1246 10.1007/s11625-019-00693-w