Including Young People, Cutting Time And Producing Useful Outcomes: Participatory Value Evaluation As A New Practice Of Public Participation In The Dutch Energy Transition


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To achieve a successful energy transition, it is vital to integrate citizens' needs into government policies through participatory processes. However, offline participatory approaches can be overly intensive which leads to an over-representation of citizens who think that the issue is in their immediate interest. Hence, elected officials often question the extent to which participants' priorities are a good proxy to represent "the public". Participatory Value Evaluation (PVE) potentially circumvents this by allowing a large and diverse group of citizens to advise their government in an accessible manner. In an online environment, citizens step into the shoes of a policy maker and see which policy options the government considers, while being informed about the impacts. Next, they are asked to provide advice. Because PVE was originally designed as an economic evaluation method, it is unclear whether it can be deployed for effective participation. This study investigates how PVE could be deployed for effective participation of citizens in the energy transition through a real-world experiment in the Netherlands. We aimed to conduct the PVE in line with goals of stakeholders which is the most important requirement for effective participation. We fully achieved three goals that were defined by stakeholders: PVE enables participation of people that normally do not participate (particularly young people); low time investment of civil servants; outcomes of a PVE should be useful for decision-making. We partly achieved two goals: PVE raises awareness among citizens about decisions and implications of the energy transition; participation should be meaningful for citizens.
Participatory Value Evaluation, Energy transition, Effective participation, Digital participation, Citizen preferences, Real-world experiment
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