The Intuitive Appeal of Legal Protection for Future Generations
J. Barrett, D. Thorstad, & H. Greaves (Eds.), Essays on Longtermism, Oxford University Press (2023), Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2023
Date Written: February 1, 2023
Over the last few years, there has been important foundational work formalizing the abstract principles of longtermism and (in the context of law) legal longtermism. An implicit assumption surrounding this work is that these abstract principles are not intuitive or widely endorsed. Here we present work from several recent empirical studies indicating that the abstract principles underlying legal longtermism—namely, that the law can and should protect the long-term future much more than it does currently—are in fact widely endorsed by legal experts and laypeople, independent of demographic factors such as gender, culture, and politics. These studies carry implications regarding the validity of legal longtermism as a jurisprudential theory and provide decision-relevant insights for applied longtermism.
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation