No SDES-2018-6
Title Is an intergenerational retrospective viewpoint effective in forming policy preferences for financial sustainability in local and national economies? A deliberative experimental approach
Author Yoshinori Nakagawa, Real Arai, Koji Kotani, Masanobu Nagano and Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Abstract Several previous studies have suggested potential benefits of intergenerational retrospective viewpoints to both promote individuals’ policy preferences and resolve intergenerational sustainability issues. This study extends this line of research by conducting a deliberation experiment on the challenging issue of determining financial policy at the municipal and national levels, and assessing the versatility of this process. A total of 353 participants were allocated into retrospective and non-retrospective treatment groups. In each group, participants were asked to read the case-method material created for the study and each individual expressed his or her most preferred options, both before and after experiencing deliberation among a group of four participants. By doing so, the relationships between the roles of the retrospective treatment, individual psychological/behavioral characteristics, and deliberation were clarified. The results confirm that a retrospective assessment influences individuals’ policy preferences at the municipal level but not at the national level. Specifically, with regard to the former, it was found that, for those who are strong in generativity and critical thinking, the retrospective treatment was effective in changing their policy preferences towards more sustainable choices. For those who are average with respect to these traits, the retrospective treatment was effective when coupled with deliberation. For those who are below average in terms of these characteristics, the retrospective treatment was ineffective even when coupled with deliberation. Overall, deliberation and retrospective treatment complemented each other as way to induce more subjects to choose sustainable options. We also discuss implications for the practice of stakeholder workshops such as scenario development, where the difficulty and importance of participants’ disengagement from the present has been recognized (Vergragt and Quist 2011).
Revised version published in Futures