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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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Institutional Design and Sources of Short-Termism

Institutional Design and Sources of Short-Termism

(p.24) 2 Institutional Design and Sources of Short-Termism
Institutions For Future Generations

Michael K. MacKenzie

Oxford University Press

Future-oriented institutions aim to correct short-term biases in political systems and produce policies that achieve a better balance between the legitimate concerns of the present and the potential interests of the future. This chapter provides an overview of some of the challenges associated with designing future-oriented political institutions. The first part identifies four potential sources of short-termism in democratic systems: 1) short-sighted voters; 2) politicians with short-term incentives; 3) special interests groups with short-term objectives; and 4) the fact that future generations cannot be included in decision-making processes today. The second part identifies different types of long-term issues, and explores how features of the issues themselves may be relevant to decisions about institutional design. I argue that we need a multifaceted approach to designing future-oriented institutions because of the multidimensional nature of the long-term issues that we face.

Keywords:   institutional design, democratic theory, short-termism, future generations, long-term policy

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