RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2021-07

RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2021-07


Measuring a Normative Expectation: Methodological Decision-making in Intergenerational Social Dilemma Mediation


The intergenerational social dilemma is a social dilemma that sets up a decision-making process for resource allocation among generations. In principle, there is no future generation; thus, only the current generation can make decisions on resource allocation. Because the current generation is myopic and optimistic, problems due to not taking future generations into consideration arise. To address this dilemma, many experiments have been conducted based on the concept of future design to change thoughts and behaviors. In this context, a method is presented for assigning a person to play the role of the future generation (i.e., the imaginary future generation) in the decision-making process of the current generation, and having them participate in the discussion. The impact of this method is significant and effective. However, this imaginary future generation is set up as self-evident to participants in the discussion, and a clear reason for its existence is not given. After reviewing previous studies related to intergenerational social dilemmas and normative expectations, as well as those on future design, this paper proposes an experimental design that emphasizes one's internal free-will decision to accept this imaginary future generation, hypothesizing that it can become a shared understanding across generations, and that it will become a normative expectation for the next generation to accept the imaginary future generation.


Intergenerational social dilemma; Future design; Social norms; Normative expectation; Imaginary future generation


Yoichiro TSUJI
Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University
2-1 Rokkodai, Nada,
Kobe, 657-8501, Japan

Junyi SHEN
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration, Kobe University
2-1, Rokkodai, Nada,
Kobe, 657-8501, Japan
Phone: +81-78-803-7036
FAX: +81-78-803-7059
School of Economics, Shanghai University