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Institutions For Future Generations$
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Iñigo González-Ricoy and Axel Gosseries

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746959.001.0001

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Constitutionalizing Intergenerational Provisions

Constitutionalizing Intergenerational Provisions

(p.170) 10 Constitutionalizing Intergenerational Provisions
Institutions For Future Generations

Iñigo González-Ricoy

Oxford University Press

The chapter provides an overview of the main forms that intergenerational constitutional provisions, i.e. provisions addressing the interests of future generations, can adopt. It then addresses the ways in which they can contribute to overcoming problems of short-termism and time inconsistency in democratic policymaking, and to bringing about an intergenerationally appropriate allocation of costs and benefits. First, constitutionalization can significantly constrain public policymaking—and bring about greater deliberation, visibility, and impartiality to the constitution-making process, leading to the adoption of provisions with a longer time horizon than ordinary statutes. Second, it can reduce uncertainty about whether long-term policy outcomes will be delivered, thus increasing citizens’ willingness to endorse far-sighted policies. Finally, constitutionalization can credibly signal the importance of intergenerational matters, hence coordinating citizens around new focal points as well as shaping their values and beliefs. The intergenerational shortcomings of constitutionalization are addressed in the final part of the chapter.

Keywords:   constitutional law, intergenerational justice, short-termism, time inconsistency, uncertainty, credible signalling, generational sovereignty

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