No SDES-2019-14
Title Intragenerational deliberation and intergenerational sustainability dilemma
Author Raja R Timilsina, Koji Kotani, Yoshinori Nakagawa and Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Abstract Many environmental problems have occurred because the current generation affects future generations, but the opposite is not true. This one-way 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 decision in some intragenerational problems, little is known about how “intragenerational deliberation” affects individual opinions and collective decisions for “intergenerational problems such as 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 intragenerational “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; such opinion changes are identified not to work in the direction to enhance intergenerational sustainability for the urban generations. Overall, our experiment suggests that a closely-knit society such as rural areas in Nepal is a hope, and intragenerational deliberation neither effectively affect individual opinions for intergeneration sustainability nor resolve ISD.
Revised version published in European Journal of Political Economy