The Future is Now: How Joint Decision Making Curbs Hyperbolic Discounting but Blurs Social Responsibility in the Intergenerational Equity Public Policy Domain

35 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2012 Last revised: 25 Feb 2014

Julia M. Puaschunder

Harvard University; The New School for Social Research; Columbia University

Gary Schwarz

University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China; Harvard University

Date Written: March 21, 2012

Abstract

When individuals judge alternative choices, presenting alternatives concurrently improves decision making outcomes. The joint decision making advantage has been proven in the Western world, yet generalizations for other cultures are missing. This paper explores the applicability of joint decision making for global public policy decisions in the intergenerational equity domain. Presenting the viewpoints of two generations with outcomes now or later concurrently worked towards intergenerationally equitable choices when surveying 223 Chinese individuals (Study 1) and 374 online recruited respondents (Study 2). Joint decision making is a powerful, previously untested means to overcome hyperbolic discounting biases in decisions on global common goods dilemmas. We also find policy bundling decreases social responsibility. The joint alternative presentation thus leads to future-orientation versus social responsibility trade-off predicaments in intergenerational decisions. Policy makers are advised to consider a multi-faceted decision schema and age-differentiated consortia may help implement intergenerational equity.

Keywords: Access to Water, Behavioral Ethics, Policy Bundling, China, Climate Change, Combined Policy, Environmentalism, Future Generations, Global Governance, Hyperbolic Discounting, Intercultural Validation Joint Decisions, Intergenerational Equity, Intertemporal Choice, Ozone Layer, Want/Should

Suggested Citation

Puaschunder, Julia M. and Schwarz, Gary, The Future is Now: How Joint Decision Making Curbs Hyperbolic Discounting but Blurs Social Responsibility in the Intergenerational Equity Public Policy Domain (March 21, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2027189 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2027189

Julia M. Puaschunder (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

24 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

The New School for Social Research ( email )

6 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Gary Schwarz

University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China ( email )

199 Taikang East Road
Ningbo, Zhejiang 315100
China
8657488180974 (Phone)

Harvard University

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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