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Can deliberative democracy resolve intergenerational sustainability dilemma?

Raja Timilsina (), Koji Kotani (), Yoshinori Nakagawa and Tatsuyoshi Saijo ()
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Yoshinori Nakagawa: School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology

No SDES-2017-20, Working Papers from Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management

Abstract: What the current generation does today affects the future generations, but the opposite is not true. This one-way nature induces the current generation to take advantage of resources without fully considering future generations'needs, which we call "intergenerational sustainability dilemma (ISD)," and it is a cause of many important problems such as climate change. Although deliberative democracy is demonstrated to be effective for some class of social problems such as prisoner's dilemma (PD), little is known about whether and how deliberative democracy is effective to solve ISD. Given this state of affairs, we examine (1) the factors to characterize the preferences and behaviors and (2) whether deliberative democracy resolves the problem in ISD through conducting an intergenerational sustainability dilemma game (ISDG) in two types of Nepalese fields (urban and rural areas). In ISDG, a sequence of six generations each of which consists of three people is organized, and each generation can either maintain intergenerational sustainability (sustainable option) or maximize its own generation's payoff by irreversibly imposing a cost on future generations (unsustainable option) under deliberative democratic settings. Our results show that the probability of choosing sustainable options increases with a number of prosocial members per generation, implying that generations in rural areas choose sustainable options more frequently than those in urban areas. Second, deliberative democracy does not induce individual opinion changes and generation decisions in favor of intergenerational sustainability. Overall, our findings demonstrate that some new mechanisms in place of deliberative democracy may be necessary to enhance intergenerational sustainability unless societies would have more prosocial people or cultural changes in the future.

Keywords: Intergenerational sustainability; deliberative democracy; prosociality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 35 pages
Date: 2017-10, Revised 2017-10
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Published in SDE Series, October 2017, pages 1-35

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