Intergenerational Justice and Institutions for the Long Term

In Klaus Goetz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Time and Politics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Institutions to address short-termism in public policymaking and to more suitably discharge our duties toward future generations have elicited much recent normative research, which this chapter surveys. It focuses on two prominent institutions: insulating devices, which seek to mitigate short-termist electoral pressures by transferring authority away to independent bodies, and constraining devices, which seek to bind elected officials to intergenerationally fair rules from which deviation is costly. The chapter first discusses sufficientarian, egalitarian, and prioritarian theories of our duties toward future generations, and how an excessive focus on the short term in policymaking may hinder that such duties be fulfilled. It then surveys constraining and insulating devices, and inspects their effectiveness to address the epistemic, motivational, and institutional drivers of political short-termism as well as their intra- and intergenerational legitimacy.
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