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The Intergenerational Justice Review, IGJR, (ISSN 2190-6335) is an English-speaking annual journal on intergenerational justice, seeking to publish articles of the most important research and current thinking from political science, ethics, and law.  Please click on the following links, if you want to find out more about IGJR , submissions , the editors , back issues or subscriptions

The magazine Intergenerational Justice Review is currently getting a new web presence. You can find it here.

You can find the CfP for the next new edition of the IGJR below:

Issue 2/2016 „Constitutions and Intergenerational Justice“

igjr_1_2016_cover Current Issue:

Intergenerational Justice Review 1/2016

   “Low Electoral Turnout among Young Voters”

This publication is available as a free PDF here.




  Editorial Excerpt

The global trend towards greater longevity means that the number of older voters is constantly increasing, and the proportional number of younger voters is decreasing. In many of the world’s democracies, older people vote more consistently and in greater numbers than their younger counterparts. The apparent reluctance of the young to exercise their right to vote only serves to reinforce this demographic trend. The result is that politicians tend to pander to the “Grey Vote”, and young people run the risk of being under-represented in parliament while seeing their issues overlooked by governments. In such a scenario, young people may be easier targets for unpopular government measures, such as the belt-tightening associated with austerity.

The statistics make the case. In Germany’s 2013 general election, the average voting turnout was 72.4%. All of the age-cohorts above the age of 45 fell above this average, whereas all of the age-cohorts below 45 fell exactly on or below it. Turnout was highest amongst 60-70 year olds (almost 80%), whereas turnout amongst 18-21 year olds was below 65%.

In the United Kingdom, turnout in 2015’s general election among those aged 18 to 24 was at a mere 43%, far below the average turnout of 66.1%. The participatory gap has widened over the decades and its last year’s figures were exceeded only in 2005, when youth turnout was a staggering 24 percentage points below that of the entire population. A recent article in The Economist (23 April 2016) suggests, however, that this is partly due to the fact that most British university students live in short-term accommodation and tend to move frequently, which makes it harder for them to register as voters in the first place.

In either of these cases, would lowering the voting age make a difference? In Germany, where 16 year olds are eligible to vote in the local elections of some Länder (federate states), there is some evidence to suggest that a cohort who obtain their voting right at 16 will have a higher poll turnout over the course of their whole lives than a cohort who are not allowed to cast their first vote until a later age. In other words, early participation seems to set a trend for life.


1) Charlotte Snelling: “School’s out!” A Test of Education’s Turnout Raising Potential

Abstract: Youth turnout in the UK is falling despite young people representing arguably the most educated generation. This article examines education’s role in social sorting, contending that the positive impact of educational expansion on electoral participation is tempered by relative education concerns. Using the 2011 UK Citizens in Transition Survey, it argues that education affects turnout by determining young people’s positioning within social networks. Some of these networks are more politicised than others. Individuals with relatively lower educational status continue to be excluded from more politically engaged networks – irrespective of their educational attainment – and as such lack the mobilisation and greater sense of political efficacy required to vote.

2) Thomas Tozer: Increasing Electoral Turnout Among the Young: Compulsory Voting or Financial Incentives?

Abstract: The low electoral turnout of young people raises serious concerns about intergenerational justice and representative democracy. A powerful method is needed to address this low electoral turnout: if young people can be encouraged to vote in greater numbers then this may lead to a virtuous circle for which politicians take young people’s views and interests more seriously, and more young people vote as a result. I argue that a scheme of financial incentives for young voters between the ages of 18 and 28, paid only once a young person has attended an hour long information session and an hour long discussion session on the election, offers such a method. Section 1 of this paper outlines the extent of the problem of low voter turnout among young people, section 2 establishes that this is a problem for democracy, and section 3 analyses the reasons why young people choose not to vote. In section 4, I consider two prospective solutions to the low electoral turnout of young people, compulsory voting and financial incentives, and argue that while compulsory voting constitutes an unacceptable violation of our liberty, offering financial incentives to vote does not, and, in the form that I propose, such a scheme offers a powerful short-term and long-term solution to the low electoral turnout of young people. Finally, section 5 summarises the key arguments of sections 1-4, and argues that if academics and politicians are genuinely concerned about improving the political representation of young people and reducing the democratic deficit then they must seriously consider my proposed scheme of financial incentives for young voters.

Book Reviews

1) Schäfer, Armin (2015): Der Verlust politischer Gleichheit: Warum die sinkende Wahlbeteiligung der Demokratie schadet. Frankfurt: Campus. 332 pages. ISBN: 978-3-593-50198-7. Price: 39,90 Euro.

2) Heckelman, Jac C. / Miller, Nicholas R. (eds.) (2015): Handbook of Social Choice and Voting. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 424 pages. ISBN: 978-1-783-47072-3. Price: 140 Pfund.

3) Gosseries, Axel / Meyer, Lukas H. (eds.) (2009): Intergenerational Justice. New York: Oxford University Press. 432 pages. ISBN: 978-0-199-28295-1. Price: 70 Pfund.



  Former Issue:

Intergenerational Justice Review 2012

“The Interdependencies between Justices”


This publication is available as a free PDF

Editorial Excerpt

There exists a frequently unhelpful and rigidly formulated theoretical dichotomy in the intergenerational literature, which can confine our intellectual thinking and restrict the efficacy of our policy: the separation of intra- and intergenerational justice. Intergenerational justice deals with justice between the generations. Intragenerational justice focuses on lines of cleavage between contemporaries, such as economic disparities between states in the international system.

On the one hand, the maxim that each generation has the right to act in a self-determining way has led to a political culture in which present generations pursue short-sighted and generationally specific objectives. By the same token, as Hans Jonas has argued, mankind’s realisation that his ability to transform nature for his own purposes may lead to irreversible environmental damage has led to the call for a new ethics for future generations. It is important to emphasise the pertinence this separation has outside the academic world: political decisions are often informed by only one type of justice, ignoring the consequences for other types of justices. On the other hand, proponents of the sustainability concept frequently take all types of justice into account and, by often implicitly assuming that they are complementary, ignore possible trade-offs. Hence one can find a lack of intellectual endeavour focused on bridging the theoretical gap between the more traditional demands of social and international justice and intergenerational justice with real implications for policy.


1) Prof. Dr. Stefan Baumgärtner, Stefanie Glotzbach, Nikolai Hoberg, Martin F. Quaas and Klara Helene Stumpf: Economic Analysis of Trade-offs between Justices

Abstract: We argue that economics – as the scientific method of analysing trade-offs – can be helpful (and may even be indispensable) for assessing the trade-offs between intergenerational and intragenerational justice. Economic analysis can delineate the “opportunity set” of politics with respect to the two normative objectives of inter- and intragenerational justice, i.e. it can describe which outcomes are feasible in achieving the two objectives in a given context, and which are not. It can distinguish efficient from inefficient uses of instruments of justice. It can identify the “opportunity cost” of attaining one justice to a higher degree, in terms of less achievement of the other. We find that, under very general conditions, (1) efficiency in the use of instruments of justice implies that there is rivalry between the two justices and the opportunity cost of either justice is positive; (2) negative opportunity costs of achieving one justice exist if there is facilitation between the two justices, which can only happen if instruments of justice are used inefficiently; (3) opportunity costs of achieving one justice are zero if the two justices are independent of each other, which is the case in the interior of the opportunity set where instruments of justice are used inefficiently.

2) Prof. Dr. Christoph Lumer: Combining Intergenerational and International Justice

Abstract: Intergenerational justice not only requires the adoption of best practices and policies, but also the prevention and repression of deleterious and morally blameworthy human behaviour which have severe impacts on the long-term health, safety and means of survival of groups of individuals. While many international crimes have indirect consequences on the well-being of present and future generations, it cannot be said that existing international criminal law is currently well-placed to directly and clearly protect intergenerational rights. As such, the development of a new type of international crime, crimes against future generations, may be a promising avenue for implementing intergenerational justice. Such a crime would penalise acts or conduct that amount to serious violations of existing international law regarding economic, social and cultural rights or the environment.

3) Dr. Bruce E. Auerbach and Michelle Reinhart: Antonin Scalia’s Constitutional Textualism: The Problem of Justice to Posterity

Abstract: Antonin Scalia defends his textualist approach to interpreting the Constitution by asserting that the purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the range of options open to future generations by enshrining institutional arrangements and practices in constitutional mandates or prohibitions. For this purpose to be fulfilled, justices of the Supreme Court must read the language of the Constitution according to its original meaning. We argue there is little reason to believe that Scalia’s understanding is correct. Neither the language of the Constitution nor the writings of Jefferson or Madison are consistent with Scalia’s interpretation. More importantly, the goal Scalia posits, of seeking to restrict the range of options open to future generations, is intergenerationally unjust.

4) Juliana Bidadanure: Short-sightedness in Youth Welfare Provision: the Case of RSA in France

Abstract: This paper reconstitutes and addresses critically the deontological and consequentialist arguments given by the French government to justify the denial of the national guaranteed minimum income support (RSA) to young people under 25 years old. The deontological arguments express a concern for distributive justice and suggest that young people do not deserve income support. The consequentialist arguments, on the other hand, emphasise social efficiency: they draw on the alleged negative outcomes that the extension of income support to young people would bring about. After analysing each argument, this paper concludes that the denial of RSA to young people is an illegitimate discrimination. It then proposes that we understand our duties towards young people through an account of prudence that reconciles both (1) concerns of distributive justice with concerns for social efficiency and (2) concerns for inter- and intragenerational justices.

Book Reviews

1) Ed Howker and Shiv Malik (2010): Jilted Generation. How Britain Has Bankrupted its Youth. London: Icon Books Ltd. 256 pages. ISBN: 1848311982. Price £8.99.

2) Pieter Vanhuysse and Achim Goerres (eds.) (2012): Ageing Populations in Post-industrial Democracies: Comparative studies of policies and politics. Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science. Vol. 76. Abingdon: Routledge. 272 pages. ISBN: 978-0-415- 60382-9. Price: £75.00.

3) Eric A. Posner and David Weisbach (2010): Climate Change Justice. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 220 pages. ISBN: 978-0-691-13775-9. Price $27.95.

4) Janna Thompson (2009): Intergenerational Justice. Rights and Responsibilities in an Intergenerational Polity. New York: Routledge.191 pages. ISBN: 0415996287. Price £80.75.


An Interview with Professor Dieter Birnbacher: Reflections on Ethical Universality

Dieter  Birnbacher  is  professor  of philosophy  at  the University  of Düsseldorf and a member of the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations’  scientific  board.  In  1988  he  published the book Verantwortung für zukünftige Generationen (responsibilities for future generations), which was translated into French (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France 1994) and  Polish  (Warsaw:  Oficyna  Naukowa 1999). Hanna Schudy is an ethicist and environmentalist interested in questions of intergenerational responsibility concerning the natural environment. She is a doctoral student  at  the University  of Wroclaw  and  a DAAD  scholarship holder. The  interview was  conducted  in December  2011  at  the Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf. It is part of Ms. Schudy’s current research into “The  principle  of  responsibility  in Hans Jonas’ and Dieter Birnbacher’s environmental ethics”.

Further Information

Publisher: The Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (Stiftung für die Rechte zukünftiger Generationen) and the Intergenerational Foundation.
Editors-in-Chief: James Wilhelm and Boris Kühn
Guest Editor: Antony Mason
Layout: Angela Schmidt, Obla Design
Print: LokayDruck, Königsberger Str. 3, 64354 Reinheim (www.lokay.de)

Editorial offices:

Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations, (Stiftung für die Rechte zukünfti-ger Generationen)
Mannsperger Str. 29
70619 Stuttgart
Tel.: +49(0)711 - 28052777
Fax.: +49(0)3212 - 2805277
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Website: www.intergenerationaljustice.org

The Intergenerational Foundation
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Website: www.if.org.uk