The Rise of the Constitutional Protection of Future Generations

45 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2021 Last revised: 8 Nov 2022

See all articles by Renan Araújo

Renan Araújo

Legal Priorities Project

Leonie Koessler

Centre for the Governance of AI

Date Written: September 30, 2021


Many comparative constitutional law scholars have listed constitutional rights and studied their historical development. However, as new waves of constitution-making arise, new rights emerge too. This article argues that future generations are a new holder of legal interest in constitutions worldwide, a consequential phenomenon that has been overlooked by the literature thus far. By looking at all national written constitutions, historical and contemporary, we present a chronology of the constitutionalization of future generations and show how they went from a handful to 41% of all constitutions as of 2021 (81 out of 196). Through content analysis, we show how they have gradually become part of a modern, universalist language of constitution-making and have reframed older rights from abstraction into the protection of people in the future. We also assess the strength of these provisions, analyzing their de jure intensity and de facto repercussions, the latter through case studies from all over the globe.

Keywords: future generations, constitutional law, longtermism

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Araújo, Renan and Koessler, Leonie, The Rise of the Constitutional Protection of Future Generations (September 30, 2021). LPP Working Paper No. 7-2021, Available at SSRN: or

Renan Araújo (Contact Author)

Legal Priorities Project ( email )

1427 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Leonie Koessler

Centre for the Governance of AI ( email )

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