THE MANY FACES OF VALUE
Automobile dealers scream until they're blue in the face that the cars they feature will provide you with superior value. The neighborhood discount store claims that its goods give you the best value for your dollar. And a rock singer's fans assure you that their hero delivers value at his concerts as no other singer can. Most of us have a fairly good idea what value means in each of the preceding contexts, though some of us might have trouble explaining what value consists of, suggesting how it may be achieved and determining whether it exists in a specific case.
Economists have been using the term value for a few centuries. They employ the term value-in-use to describe how functional or useful a product is and value-in-exchange to convey some idea of its availability and price. Jeremy Bentham1 used the word utility to denote value-in-use as well as the aspects of value-in-exchange that are related to timely and geographic access to the product. Attempts to quantify, compare, and measure utilities have led to enormously complicated computations (with, we regret to say, little utility!). We prefer to use worth rather than utility so as to avoid the conceptual baggage associated with the latter. Moreover, two of the more prominent attempts to come to grips with the idea of product value use worth almost synonymously with utility.
The first of these approaches, value analysis, was originally developed by Miles2 while working for General Electric and it has subsequently been widely applied particularly in manufacturing firms. Fallon, 3 who became value analysis' most eloquent crusader, defined it as a method to deter-