Effects of Experiencing the Role of Imaginary Future Generations in Decision-Making - a Case Study of Participatory Deliberation in a Japanese Town -

Author Name HARA Keishiro (Consulting Fellow, RIETI) / KITAKAJI Yoko (Hiroshima University) / SUGINO Hiroaki (University of Tokyo) / YOSHIOKA Ritsuji (Yahaba Town, Iwate Prefecture, Japan) / TAKEDA Hiroyuki (Osaka University) / HIZEN Yoichi (Kochi University of Technology) / SAIJO Tatsuyoshi (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kochi University of Technology)
Creation Date/NO. December 2019 19-E-104
Research Project Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Political Philosophy toward Economic Growth
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To ensure sustainability, overcoming intergenerational conflict is vital, and social systems supporting decision-making that takes into account the benefits to future generations is thus critically important. One promising approach in such social systems is introducing "imaginary future generations" who act as representatives for the benefits of future generation in actual, present-day decision making situations. In this study, we explore the effects and implications of participants' experiences as representatives of imaginary future generation. We conducted a citizens' participatory debate on creating a vision and appropriate policies associated with public facilities and housing in a town in Japan, and examined how the thinking patterns and decisions of the participants shifted as a result of debating from the perspectives of both current and imaginary future generations. Based on analyses of a questionnaire and the keywords in answers to a worksheet provided to the participants, we demonstrate that through their experiences as representatives of imaginary future generations, a clear shift in perspective occurred, with increases in self-reflective viewpoint. We also found that the shared viewpoints of the current and future generations existed within the individuals. These findings hint at how we can develop institutions and social systems that facilitate sustainable decision-making.

Published: Hara, Keishiro, Yoko Kitakaji, Hiroaki Sugino Ritsuji Yoshioka, Hiroyuki Takeda, Yoichi Hizen, and Tatsuyoshi Saijo, 2021. "Effects of experiencing the role of imaginary future generations in decision-making – a Case study of participatory deliberation in a Japanese town –," Sustainability Science, Volume 16, 1001-1016.