No SDES-2021-6
Title Deliberative forms of democracy and intergenerational sustainability dilemma
Author Pankaj Koirala, Raja Rajendra Timilsina and Koji Kotani
Abstract Intergenerational sustainability (IS) has emerged as the most serious social problem reflecting climate change and accumulation of public debt in modern democratic societies, undermining the potential interests and concerns of future generations. However, little is known about whether or not deliberative forms of democracy with majority voting helps support at maintaining IS by representing future generations’ potential interests and concerns. We institute intergenerational sustainability dilemma game (ISDG) with three forms of decision-making models with majority voting and examine how they maintain IS in laboratory experiments. In ISDG, a sequence of six generations is prepared where each generation consisting of three subjects is asked to choose either maintaining IS (sustainable option) or maximizing their own generation’s payoff by irreversibly costing the subsequent generations (unsustainable option) with anonymous voting systems: (1) majority voting (MV), (2) deliberative majority voting (DMV) and (3) majority voting with deliberative accountability (MVDA). In MV and DMV, generations vote for their choices without and with deliberation, respectively. In MVDA, generations are asked to be possibly accountable for their choices to the subsequent generations during deliberation, and then vote. Our analysis shows that decision-making models with only majority voting generally does not address IS, while DMV and MVDA treatments induce more and much more generations to choose a sustainable option than MV, respectively. Overall, the results demonstrate that deliberation and accountability along with majority voting shall be necessary in models of decision making at resolving IS problems and representing future generations’ potential interests and concerns.
Revised version published in Sustainability