No SDES-2019-2
Title Accountability as a resolution for intergenerational sustainability dilemma
Author Raja Rajendra Timilsima, Koji Kotani, Yoshinori Nakagawa and Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Abstract “Intergenerational sustainability dilemma (ISD)” is a situation where the current generation chooses actions to her benefit without considering future generations under current economic and political systems, compromising intergenerational sustainability (Kamijo et al., 2017, Shahrier et al., 2017). We institute a new mechanism to improve intergenerational sustainability called “intergenerational accountability (IA)” and examine its effectiveness through field experiments consisting of ISD games (ISDGs). In Baseline ISDG, a sequence of six generations, each composed of three members, is organized, and each generation is asked to choose whether to maintain intergenerational sustainability (sustainable option) or maximize their payoff by irreversibly imposing costs on future generations (unsustainable option) within a 10-minute deliberation. With IA, each generation is asked to provide the reasons of her decision as well as her advice to future generations that are passed to subsequent generations. Our results show that generations under IA choose a sustainable option much more often than under Baseline ISDG, giving positive reasons and advice for sustainable options to subsequent generations. Overall, one-way communication of reasons and advice in IA is identified to function as a social device to not only transfer a common image but also decrease social distance over generations for intergenerational sustainability.
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