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Après Nous le Déluge? Direct Democracy and Intergenerational Conflicts in Ageing Societies

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  • Gabriel Ahlfeldt
  • Wolfgang Maennig
  • Malte Steenbeck

Abstract

To assess the likely effects of population ageing on the outcomes of direct democracy, we analyze the effect of age on voting decisions in public referenda. To this end, we provide the first quantitative review of the literature and a case study of the Stuttgart 21 referendum on one of the largest infrastructure projects in Germany. The evi-dence suggests that intergenerational conflicts arising from population ageing will likely be limited to areas in which the net present value differs particularly strongly across generations, such as education and health spending, green energy, and major transport projects. In such instances, however, the effect can be quantitatively relevant, raising the question of whether, as population ageing progresses, decisions should be based on social cost-benefit analyses, instead of referenda.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel Ahlfeldt & Wolfgang Maennig & Malte Steenbeck, 2016. "Après Nous le Déluge? Direct Democracy and Intergenerational Conflicts in Ageing Societies," CESifo Working Paper Series 5779, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5779
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wolfgang Maennig, 2017. "Public Referenda and Public Opinion on Olympic Games," Working Papers 057, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    2. Franziska K. Kruse & Wolfgang Maennig, 2017. "The future development of world records," Working Papers 061, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    3. Wolfgang Maennig, 2017. "Governance in Sports Organizations," Working Papers 060, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    4. Franziska K. Kruse & Wolfgang Maennig, 2018. "Suspension by choice – determinants and asymmetries," Working Papers 064, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    5. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Wolfgang Maennig & Felix J. Richter, 2017. "Zoning in reunified Berlin," Working Papers 059, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    6. Wolfgang Maennig, 2017. "Major Sports Events: Economic Impact," Working Papers 058, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ageing; direct democracy; intergenerational conflict; NIMBY; referendum; Stuttgart 21; transport; voting;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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