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Intergenerational Justice Prize 2017/18 PDF Print E-mail

For the 2017/2018 prize, the FRFG and IF call for papers on the following topic:

poster_intergenerational justice prize 201718-1How attractive are political parties and trade unions to young people?

Political parties are intrinsically linked to the functioning of modern democracies. They provide fundamental linkage mechanisms of representation and participation that connect citizens with the state (Keman 2014; Webb 2000). Party members and affiliates, more generally, are in this respect one of the linking mechanisms that are beneficial for the effective functioning of political representation.
Members are often described as the “eyes and ears” (Kölln/Polk 2017; Kölln 2017) of parties in the electorate because of their communicative role. They bring new policy ideas to the party and communicate the party’s programme within society. In addition, members are among the primary sources of political personnel because party membership is often an informal prerequisite for acquiring political office. From this representative perspective and following the notion of “descriptive representation” (Mainsbridge 1999), members’ social makeup should ideally reflect that of the general population.
Although party members have hardly ever been entirely representative of the population in their demographic characteristics (Scarrow/Gezgor 2010), the general decline of party membership seems to affect younger generations disproportionately. They enrol less often in parties, render¬ing the parties’ age-profiles all too often considerably older than the broader electorate that they hope to embrace (Bruter/Harrison 2009; Scarrow/Gezgor 2010). For instance, the share of young members (under 26 years old) in German parties is at most 6.3 % (LINKE) but can also be as little as 2.2 % (CSU) (Niedermayer 2016). In contrast, around one quarter of the general population belongs to this age group. And even though the age-profile of Swedish parties is considerably better, with over 14 % of members being under 26 years old (Kölln/Polk 2017), this figure is largely driven by members of the Green Party (Miljöpartiet) in which almost 26 % are under 26 years old. In other countries, hardly any of these problems seem to exist. According to 2017 figures from the United Kingdom, the share of members aged 18-24 reflects the general popula¬tion of 8.9 % quite well: group size estimates suggest that 18-24s make up 14.4 % of the Green Party, 13.2 %  of the Con¬servative Party and 11.5 % of the Labour Party, with only the Scottish National Party and UK Inde¬pendence Party (UKIP) below the 8.9 %, at 6.9 % and 6.7 % respectively (UK Party Members Project;
Overall, however, the statistics suggest not only an age problem in political parties across many European democracies, but also substantial country- and party-level differences. German parties seem to be doing particularly poorly in the descriptive representation of the young, while other countries and individual parties are apparently much better in engaging younger generations.

Trade unions are facing similar problems in recruiting young members across Europe (Gumbrell-McCormick/Hyman 2013). Reasons for this pattern might be found in the dominant political issues that trade unions care about. Younger people are confronted with the rapidly changing nature of the workplace as well as the rise in temporary work and zero-hour contracts, and are probably more interested in salaries, entry requirements and work contracts, rather than in end-of-career matters such as pensions and retirement ages. The skewed age profile of trade unions could shift the discussion more towards the latter con¬cerns, deterring younger generations and reinforcing existing age problems.

Given members’ importance and their overall age profile, it could be argued that political power or access to it is unequally distributed between the young and old. Parties and trade unions might be disproportionally representing older rather than younger generations because of their own social-demographic makeup. This could create an unjust distribution of political influence between living generations.

The Intergenerational Justice Prize 2017/18 aims to illuminate the complex relationship between young people and political parties and trade unions. It invites analyses of proposals for reform from the literature, such as an introductory stage of full membership and reforms of party con-ventions, participatory modes and structures.
Entries to the competition could approach the topic through a broad range of questions, includ-ing:

  • Is the unequal representation of young members in and for political parties and trade unions problematic from a democratic perspective?
  • What about the age structure of employers’ associations? Could the underrepresentation of younger members be viewed as a problem here as well?
  • How great is the reluctance of young people to engage in and for political parties and trade unions from an internationally comparative perspective, for instance OECD-wide? What can we learn from a historically comparative perspective?
  • Why do young people avoid political parties and trade unions?
  • Why are some parties and trade unions better than others in engaging younger people?
  • What can parties and trade unions do to attract more young members or affiliates and to retain them? What lessons can be learned from examples in which specific parties or unions have accomplished this, such as recently the British Labour Party?
  • What role can the youth organisations of political parties and trade unions play in increasing the attractiveness of their mother organisations?
  • Do regulations prohibit specific reform measures which could render parties and unions more attractive for young people? What role do membership fees play?
  • What would be the consequences if young people permanently and irrevocably eschewed political parties?Note that these are non-binding suggestions: participants are strongly encouraged to come up with their own research puzzles. You may adapt the title according to your chosen subject, but the paper must in essence reflect the topic. All ideas presented in the submitted papers should be innovative, creative and with a focus on civil society issues, with practical applications. The FRFG and IF particularly appreciate participants trying to explain complex ideas in as simple and accessible terms as possible. Submitted research papers may employ all possible methodological approaches.

The Intergenerational Justice Prize is endowed with EUR 10,000. The prize money will be distrib-uted proportionally among the best submissions, which can be more or less than the top three submissions. Winning submissions will be considered for publication by the editorial team of the Intergenerational Justice Review (IGJR; for the winter issue 2018.

The prize is open to all researchers and young researchers. To participate, please contact Antony Mason ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to request the formal entry requirements.
Submissions deadline is 01 July 2018.




Welcome PDF Print E-mail
fotoDear Reader,
The Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) is a think-tank on the interface of science, politics and the business world. To FRFG, intergenerational justice means that today's youth and future generations must have at least the same opportunities to meet their own needs as the generation governing today. The foundation publishes the journal "Intergenerational Justice Review" (IGJR),
which is an English-speaking journal on intergenerational justice, seeking to publish articles of the most important research and current thinking from political science, ethics, and law. The FRFG Newsletter provides information on our current projects.
Electoral complaint rejected by the German Federal Constitutional Court PDF Print E-mail
01_10_14Judges dismiss charge of juveniles

The German Federal Constitutional Court recently dismissed the electoral complaint of 25 claimants, including FRFG-spokesman Wolfgang Gründinger and 15 children and teenagers aged between 9 and 17. The complaint was supported by the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) and the Plant-for-the-Planet-Foundation. The purpose of this complaint was the abolishment of a minimum age of 18 years to obtain the right to vote in general elections in Germany in order to strengthen democracy and intergenerational justice.

In their statement of claim, the young people objected to the general elections in 2013 in which 13 million German citizens were excluded from the elections simply because of their age. We claim that everyone should be allowed to vote as soon as he or she wants to. Registration in the town hall has to be sufficient to participate in elections.

The judges dismissed the charge from July 8, 2014 after lengthy discussion, referring to the expert opinion of judge Peter Müller published on January 26, 2016. The argumentation and reasoning of the expert opinion does not satisfy or convince the FRFG. We will continue to fight for the reformation of the electoral law in favour of the young generation!
2. Legislative Prize for Generationally Just Laws PDF Print E-mail
02_03_16Proposals for 2nd Legislative Prize for Generationally Just Laws required

The FRFG awarded the Legislative Prize for Generationally Just Laws for the first time in 2013. The first winner was the nuclear power phase-out law passed by the 17th Bundestag. At the end of the 18th legislative period in Germany 2017, the FRFG will award the unremunerated prize for a law or legislative initiative again, which either removes a present injustice that affects future generations or protects future generations from future injustices. The law should be mainly based on the principle of intergenerational justice. The acting recipients of the legislative prize could be politicians who are either members of a government (national governments, EU-Commission), members of a parliament (Members of the European Parliament or UK MPs), or incumbents of a political office (secretary general, board member, leader of  youth organization etc.).
The FRFG is looking for nominees for this prize. Everyone who is interested can send us his/her suggestions by E-Mail ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), if possible with a short explanation.
On the basis of your ideas the selection process is done in cooperation with a jury which will first select the five possible winners. In a second step the jury will finally choose the most generationally just law to win the price. At an award ceremony the parties and politicians concerned will be awarded with the Legislative Prize.
The FRFG wants to thank the Stiftung Apfelbaum, which will pay the costs that arise.

Intergenerational Justice Prize 2015/16 PDF Print E-mail

genger preis 15-16_fotoAward ceremony - Intergenerational Justice Prize on November 8th, 2016 at the dbb-Forum in Berlin

 The Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) and the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) announce the 8th Intergenerational Justice Prize for young researchers on the topic above. Prizes totalling €10,000, funded by the Stiftung Apfelbaum, will be awarded to the best papers submitted.

 This year's topic was: “Constitutions as millstones? Are regular national constitutional conventions the solution to give successive generations the flexibility they need?”

The award ceremony took place on November 8th in Berlin in cooperation with the Behörden Spiegel. Following the ceremony, the award recipients presented their distinguished works.

The winners:

The 1st prize is shared by

Konstantin Chatziathanasiou, Max-Planck-Institute Bonn and University of Bonn, with his work „Constitutions as Chains? – On the Intergenerational Challenge of Constitution-Making” and
Inigo Gonzalez-Ricoy, University of Barcelona, with his work „Legitimate Intergenerational Constitutionalism“.

The 3rd prize is shared by

Michael Rose, University of Wuppertal, with his work „Constitutions, Democratic Self-Determination and the Institutional Empowerment of Future Generations: Mitigating an Aporia“ and
Shai Agmon, London School of Economics and Political Science, with his work „Could Present Laws Legitimately Bind Future Generations? A Normative Analysis of Jefferson’s Proposal”.

The submissions have been published in the Intergenerational Justice Review and are accessible free of charge under .

The submission deadline was August 1st, 2016. The official poster for the Intergenerational Justice Prize can be found here

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