No SDES-2018-7
Title Does deliberation change individual opinions and hence resolve the intergenerational sustainability dilemma in societies?
Author Raja Timilsina, Koji Kotani, Yoshinori Nakagawa and Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Abstract The current generation affects future generations, but the opposite is not true. This oneway nature induces the current generation to take advantage of resources without considering future generations, which we call “intergenerational sustainability dilemma (ISD).” While deliberation is known to bring a change in individual opinions and lead to a better group decision in some settings, little is known about whether it resolves ISD. We examine how deliberation changes individual opinions and then can be a resolution for ISD in societies. To this end, an ISD game (ISDG) along with interviews and questionnaires are instituted in rural and urban areas of Nepalese societies. In ISDG, a sequence of six generations, each of which consists of three people, is organized, and each generation chooses either to maintain intergenerational sustainability (sustainable option) or to maximize her own generation’s payoff by irreversibly imposing a cost on future generations (unsustainable option) under “deliberative” process. Our result demonstrates that urban subjects have a wider variety of individual initial opinions and support an unsustainable option more often than do rural subjects. It also shows that individual opinions change through deliberation when subjects in a generation do not share the same initial opinion, reflecting that more urban subjects change opinions. However, we identify that such changes do not work in the direction to enhance intergenerational sustainability and thus urban generations remain to choose an unsustainable option. Our experiment demonstrates that deliberation is not a resolution for ISD.
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