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Intergenerational sustainability and the degree of capitalism in the society: A field experiment


  • Shibly Shahrier

    () (Kochi University of Technology)

  • Koji Kotani

    () (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology)

  • Tatsuyoshi Saijo

    () (School of Economics and Management, Kochi University of Technology)


Maintaining intergenerational sustainability is a minimum requirement for the existence of humankind, but it is now becoming one of the biggest challenges. Thus, it is necessary to understand what factors determine human preference and behavior for intergenerational sustainability. We hypothesize that ongoing modernization of competitive societies, which we call "capitalism," affects individual social preferences and other factors of human nature, compromising intergenerational sustainability. To examine this hypothesis, we implement an intergenerational sustainability dilemma game (ISDG) with "imaginary future generation" (IFG) as a policy tool (to prime people for future generations) in two types of Bangladeshi fields: (i) urban (capitalistic) and (ii) rural (less-capitalistic) areas. The analysis reveals that the likelihood of choosing intergenerational sustainable options significantly increases with the number of prosocial people in one generation and a regional dummy of rural areas. Since a considerable portion of people in rural areas are prosocial, rural people are identified to choose intergenerational sustainable options much more frequently than urban people. Moreover, the IFG treatment is not effective for urban people, implying that some stronger devices shall be necessary in capitalistic societies. Overall, our findings demonstrate that as societies become more capitalistic, intergenerational sustainability shall be further compromised through a change in both people's social preference and other factors captured by the regional effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Shibly Shahrier & Koji Kotani & Tatsuyoshi Saijo, 2016. "Intergenerational sustainability and the degree of capitalism in the society: A field experiment," Working Papers SDES-2016-10, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Jul 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:kch:wpaper:sdes-2016-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harbaugh, William T & Krause, Kate, 2000. "Children's Altruism in Public Good and Dictator Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 95-109, January.
    2. Katerina Sherstyuk & Nori Tarui & Majah-Leah V. Ravago & Tatsuyoshi Saijo, 2016. "Intergenerational Games with Dynamic Externalities and Climate Change Experiments," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 247-281.
    3. Yoshio Kamijo & Asuka Komiya & Nobuhiro Mifune & Tatsuyoshi Saijo, 2016. "Negotiating with the future: Incorporating imaginary future generations into negotiations," Working Papers SDES-2016-13, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Oct 2016.
    4. Brosig-Koch, Jeannette & Helbach, Christoph & Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 2011. "Still different after all these years: Solidarity behavior in East and West Germany," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1373-1376.
    5. Fischer, Maria-Elisabeth & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2004. "An intergenerational common pool resource experiment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 811-836, September.
    6. Ockenfels, Axel & Weimann, Joachim, 1999. "Types and patterns: an experimental East-West-German comparison of cooperation and solidarity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 275-287, February.
    7. William Harbaugh & Kate Krause, 2000. "Children's altruism in public good and dictator experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00054, The Field Experiments Website.
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    Intergenerational sustainability; capitalism; social preference; culture and evolution;

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