The Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions (FRFG) and the Inter­gen­er­a­tional Foun­da­tion (IF) award the Demog­ra­phy Prize, endowed with €10,000, to essay­ists who address polit­i­cal and demo­graph­ic themes rel­e­vant to the field of inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice. The prize was ini­ti­at­ed and is fund­ed by the Stiftung Apfel­baum. Through the prize, FRFG and IF aim to pro­mote a dis­cus­sion of inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice in soci­ety, and, by pro­vid­ing a sci­en­tif­ic basis to the debate, estab­lish new per­spec­tives for deci­sion-mak­ers. The call for papers is intend­ed to tar­get young schol­ars of dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines. Entries should range from 20 to 40 pages in length.

For 2012/2013 entries, the award­ing con­sor­tium called for papers on the fol­low­ing topic:

Youth Quo­tas — The Answer to Changes in Age Demographics?”

The fol­low­ing text will pro­vide some first ideas for a submission:

Demo­graph­ic change in many devel­oped and devel­op­ing coun­tries means an age­ing pop­u­la­tion. In the UK in 2050, gov­ern­ment sta­tis­ti­cians pre­dict that there will be 2.5 times as many peo­ple aged 85 and over as there are today. The num­ber of peo­ple aged between 16 and 64 is pre­dict­ed to fall from 65 per cent to 59 per cent. Sim­i­lar trends have been observed through­out Europe.

An age­ing pop­u­la­tion has a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant inter­gen­er­a­tional impli­ca­tions for vot­er pow­er and polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Is it pos­si­ble that youth will find it increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult to exer­cise pow­er through the bal­lot box? Will our democ­ra­cies become gerontocracies?

One way to coun­ter­bal­ance the trend and ensure the young do not become side­lined could be the intro­duc­tion of youth quotas.


Although sub­mis­sions can treat both, there is a dif­fer­ence between “youth quo­tas” and “youth rep­re­sen­ta­tion in deci­sion-mak­ing”. While the first stip­u­lates that a cer­tain per­cent­age of young peo­ple must be includ­ed in a pan­el or body, the sec­ond gen­er­al­ly pre­scribes one seat for young peo­ple. Above all, the lat­ter applies to com­mit­tees, pan­els and bod­ies in which all soci­etal groups are represented.

Almost noth­ing about youth quo­tas can be found on Wikipedia or by search­ing the web with Google. It appears to be a brand new top­ic: this means that address­ing it could be very inno­v­a­tive, or is the fact that almost nobody has pro­mot­ed it a sign of its irrelevance?

Many inter­dis­ci­pli­nary ques­tions are raised in the con­text of the youth quo­tas debate: for polit­i­cal sci­en­tists it may be inter­est­ing to exam­ine whether demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples would be vio­lat­ed when young rep­re­sen­ta­tives are vot­ed into a par­lia­ment, even if they are clear­ly less pop­u­lar than their old­er oppo­nents. And would quo­ta reg­u­la­tion ensure that young peo­ple have suf­fi­cient pow­er to influ­ence polit­i­cal decision-making?

From a legal point of view it should be con­sid­ered whether the imple­men­ta­tion of youth quo­tas is con­sis­tent with nation­al and Euro­pean legal prin­ci­ples. Are there any exam­ples from, for exam­ple, the imple­men­ta­tion of quo­tas for women and eth­nic groups that demon­strate the poten­tial legal chal­lenges of imple­ment­ing youth quotas?

With regards to phi­los­o­phy­it might be inter­est­ing  to inves­ti­gate whether it is nec­es­sary for par­lia­ments to reflect the demo­graph­ic make-up of soci­eties to be just. Is the imple­men­ta­tion of youth quo­tas a fair method to ensure that young peo­ple are represented?

Final­ly, soci­ol­o­gists could exam­ine and regard youth quo­tas in the con­text of the con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject of “affir­ma­tive action”. This pol­i­cy may address the prob­lem sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, but would young peo­ple in pow­er­ful soci­etal posi­tions be tak­en seri­ous­ly? Could the pro­mo­tion of youth quo­tas ini­ti­ate an impor­tant soci­etal change that ben­e­fits and empow­ers young people?

The pro­mo­tion of youth quo­tas and youth rep­re­sen­ta­tion in deci­sion-mak­ing could ini­ti­ate an impor­tant soci­etal change. As organ­i­sa­tions whose mis­sion is to pro­mote jus­tice and fair­ness between gen­er­a­tions, IF and FRFG would like to gen­er­ate a fruit­ful debate in this area, with a focus on the empow­er­ment of young peo­ple in pol­i­tics and society.

The dead­line for sub­mit­ted papers was July 1st, 2013.
Rec­om­mend­ed Literature:

Ale­mann, Ulrich von, Mar­tin Mor­lok and Thelse Godew­erth (2006): Jugend und Poli­tik. Möglichkeit­en und Gren­zen poli­tis­ch­er Beteili­gung der Jugend. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Bal­trunaite, Audin­ga, Piera Bel­lo, Alessan­dra Casari­co and Pao­la Pro­fe­ta (2012):“Gender Quo­tas and the Qual­i­ty of Politi­cians”, CESi­fo work­ing paper No. 3734, Munich: Uni­ver­si­ty, Cen­tre for Eco­nom­ic Stud­ies. Avail­able online:

Bengt­son, Vern L. (1993): “Is the ‘Con­tract Across Gen­er­a­tions’ Chang­ing? Effects of Pop­u­la­tion Aging on Oblig­a­tions and Expec­ta­tions Across Age Groups”, in: Vern L. Bengt­son and W. Andrew Achen­baum (eds): The Chang­ing Con­tract Across Gen­er­a­tions. New York: de Gruyter, pp. 3–24.

Bin­stock, Robert H., and J. Quadag­no (eds) (2001): “Aging and pol­i­tics”, in: “Old­er peo­ple and vot­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion: Past and future”, in: Robert H. Bin­stock and Lin­da K. George (eds): Hand­book of aging and the social sci­ences, 5th edn. San Diego: Aca­d­e­m­ic Press, pp.333–51.

Cas­tles, Fran­cis G. (2008): “What wel­fare states do: A dis­ag­gre­gat­ed expen­di­ture approach”, in: Jour­nal of Social Polic, 38 (1), pp.45–62.

Dahlerup, Drude (2003): “Quo­tas are Chang­ing the His­to­ry of Women. The Imple­men­ta­tion of Quo­tas: African Expe­ri­ences”. Avail­able online:

Dahlerup, Drude, and Leni­ta Frei­den­vall (2005): “Quo­tas as a ‘fast track’ to equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion for women. Why Scan­di­navia is no longer the mod­el”, in: Inter­na­tion­al Fem­i­nist Jour­nal of Pol­i­tics, 7/1, pp. 26–48.

Dis­ney, Richard (2007): “Pop­u­la­tion age­ing and the size of the wel­fare state: Is there a puz­zle to explain?” in: Euro­pean Jour­nal of Polit­i­cal Econ­o­my, 23(2): pp. 542–553.

Dono­van, Bar­bara (2007): “ ‘Minor­i­ty’ Rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Ger­many”, in: Ger­man Pol­i­tics, 16/4, pp. 455–80.

Engel­stad, Fredrik (2012): Firms, Boards and Gen­der Quo­tas: Com­par­a­tive Per­spec­tives. Bin­g­ley: Emer­ald Group.

Esp­ing-Ander­sen, Gos­ta, and Sebas­t­ian Sarasa (2002): “The gen­er­a­tional con­flict recon­sid­ered”, in:  Jour­nal of Euro­pean Social Pol­i­cy, 12 (1), pp. 5–21.

Faulkn­er, Kathryn M. (2009): “Pre­sen­ta­tion and Rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Youth par­tic­i­pa­tion in ongo­ing pub­lic deci­sion-mak­ing projects”, in: Child­hood, 16/1, pp. 89–104.

Gabriel, Jeus-Peter (1988): “Quoten­regelung – nur ein ver­fas­sungsrechtlich­es Prob­lem?”, in: Gegen­wart­skunde, 37/4, pp. 501–509.

Han­ley, Seán (2012): “Explain­ing the Suc­cess of Pen­sion­ers‘ Par­ties: a Qual­i­ta­tive Com­par­a­tive Analy­sis of 31 poli­ties”, in: Pieter Van­huysse and Achim Goer­res (eds.): Age­ing Pop­u­la­tions in Post-indus­tri­al Democ­ra­cies. London/New York/ Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer Ver­lag, pp. 23–53.

Han­ley, Seán (2010): “The Emer­gence of Pen­sion­ers’ Par­ties in Con­tem­po­rary Europe”, in: Joerg C. Trem­mel (ed.): A Young Gen­er­a­tion Under Pres­sure? Finan­cial sit­u­a­tion and ‘rush hour of life’ of the cohorts 1970–1985 in a gen­er­a­tional com­par­i­son. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer Ver­lag, pp. 225–247.

Kates, Michael (2011): “Jus­tice, Democ­ra­cy, and Future Gen­er­a­tions”, APSA 2011 Annu­al Meet­ing Paper. Avail­able online:

Kohli, Mar­tin, Sighard Neck­el and Jür­gen Wolf (1999): “Krieg der Gen­er­a­tio­nen? Die poli­tis­che Macht der Älteren” in: Annette Nieder­franke, Ger­hard Naegele and Eckart Frahm (eds): Funkkol­leg Altern, vol. 2. Opladen: West­deutsch­er Ver­lag, pp.479–514.

Kot­likoff, Lau­rence J., and Scott Burns (2004): The Com­ing Gen­er­a­tional Storm.Cam­bridge: MIT Press.

Kot­likoff, Lau­rence J., and Scott Burns (2012): The Clash of Gen­er­a­tions: Sav­ing Our­selves, Our Kids, and Our Econ­o­my. Cam­bridge: MIT Press.

Laux, Anni­ka (2011): Was wün­schen sich die Mit­glieder von ihren Parteien?, in: Tim Spi­er et. al (eds): Parteim­it­glieder in Deutsch­land. Wies­baden, pp. 157–76.

Leif, Thomas (2010): Angepasst und aus­ge­bran­nt: Die Parteien in der Nach­wuchs­falle. Warum Deutsch­land der Still­stand dro­ht. Munich: Goldmann.

Lynch, Julia (2006): Age in the Wel­fare State. The Ori­gins of Social Spend­ing on Pen­sion­ers, Work­ers, and Chil­dren. Cambridge/New York: Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty Press.

Nani­vadekar, Med­ha (2006): “Are Quo­tas a Good Idea? The Indi­an Expe­ri­ence with Reserved Seats for Women”, in: Pol­i­tics & Gen­der, 02/1, pp. 119–128.

Tepe, Markus / Van­huysse, Pieter (2012): Accel­er­at­ing Small­er Cut­backs to Delay Larg­er Ones? The Pol­i­tics of Tim­ing and Alarm Bells in OECD Pen­sion Gen­eros­i­ty Retrench­ment. In: Van­huysse, Pieter / Goer­res, Achim (eds.): Age­ing Pop­u­la­tions in Post-indus­tri­al Democracies.London/New York: Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer Ver­lag, pp. 127–144.

Van­huysse, Pieter, and Achim Goer­res (2012): “Map­ping the Field: Gen­er­a­tional Pol­i­tics and Poli­cies in Age­ing Democ­ra­ties”, in: Pieter Van­huysse and Achim Goer­res (eds.): Age­ing Pop­u­la­tions in Post-indus­tri­al Democ­ra­cies. London/New York/Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer Ver­lag, pp. 1–22.

Wiesendahl, Elmar (2001): “Keine Lust mehr auf Parteien. Zur Abwen­dung Jugendlich­er von den Parteien”, in: Aus Poli­tik und Zeit­geschichte, B 10/2001, pp. 7–19.

Wilkoszews­ki, Har­ald (2003): Die ver­drängte Gen­er­a­tion. Poli­tis­che Parteien und die alternde Gesellschaft in Deutsch­land. Mar­burg: Tec­tum Verlag.

Wilkoszews­ki, Har­ald (2010): “Alte ver­sus Junge”, in: Manuela Glaab, Wern­er Wei­den­feld and Michael Wei­gl  (eds): Deutsche Kon­traste 1990–2010. Poli­tik – Wirtschaft – Gesellschaft – Kul­tur. Frank­furt: Cam­pus, pp. 355–85.

The fol­low­ing papers were award­ed by the jury:

1st Prize: Juliana Bidada­nure: “Bet­ter Pro­ce­dures For Fair­er Out­comes: Are Youth Quo­tas Required by Inter­gen­er­a­tional Jus­tice?” (PDF)

2nd Prize: Fatema Jahan: “Youth Quo­tas and Youth-i-zation Or Youth Lead­er­ship and Youth Move­ment? — A response to age demo­graph­ics” (PDF)

Two 3rd Prizes: Tobias Hainz: “Sind Jugendquoten eine Form der Alters­diskri­m­inierung?”(PDF) and Elias Nau­mann, Moritz Heß & Lean­der Steinkopf: ““Der Gen­er­a­tio­nenkon­flikt in Europa. Die Jugendquote: von den Europäern gewollt?” (PDF)


Academic Symposium on “Youth Quotas — The Answer to Changes in Age Demographics?”

25/26 Octo­ber 2013, Stuttgart (Ger­many)

jq_02The aim of the aca­d­e­m­ic sym­po­sium was to give an answer to the ques­tion whether “Youth Quo­tas” pro­vide a solu­tion to changes in age demo­graph­ics and a loom­ing geron­toc­ra­cy. Based on the premise that young peo­ple have the poten­tial to act as change agents, espe­cial­ly with regard to eco­log­i­cal sus­tain­abil­i­ty, it was our aim to stim­u­late a soci­etal dis­cus­sion and to raise pub­lic aware­ness on the top­ic of “Youth Quo­tas”, whilst pro­vid­ing the dis­cus­sion with a sci­en­tif­ic basis.

The ques­tion of a pow­er shift between gen­er­a­tions is already dis­cussed in many facets in the lit­er­a­ture. Many com­men­ta­tors state that a shift is already vis­i­ble and that the prob­lem requires care­ful polit­i­cal man­age­ment. In this sense, the imple­men­ta­tion of youth quo­tas could be a pos­si­ble method of pro­tect­ing the inter­ests of younger gen­er­a­tions in pol­i­tics and beyond in light of the pur­port­ed pow­er shift. The sym­po­sium inves­ti­gat­ed a top­ic that is great­ly under-researched.

Some key ques­tions to be addressed at the sym­po­sium were: Should “Youth Quo­tas” be lim­it­ed to the polit­i­cal are­na (polit­i­cal par­ties, par­lia­ments, etc.) or should they also be imple­ment­ed in oth­er fields (econ­o­my, com­pa­nies, asso­ci­a­tions, orga­ni­za­tions, etc.)? Can “Youth Quo­tas” ensure that an addi­tion­al sense of urgency is includ­ed in the prob­lem-solv­ing process of future prob­lems like glob­al warm­ing? Will young peo­ple real­ly rep­re­sent the inter­ests of the young gen­er­a­tion as a whole, or will they just fol­low their own indi­vid­ual inter­ests? Are “Youth Quo­tas” in gen­er­al an effec­tive instru­ment to strength­en the rights of the young gen­er­a­tion or do we need oth­er and more effec­tive instruments?

jq_03It was con­test­ed whether or not “Youth Quo­tas” are an effec­tive means to strength­en the rights of fol­low­ing gen­er­a­tions. Some junior sci­en­tists sug­gest­ed that young peo­ple can be thought of as the “trustees of pos­ter­i­ty” as they tend to be fiercer defend­ers of long-ter­mist poli­cies since the envi­ron­men­tal cri­sis will have a more con­crete impact on their lifespan.

But oth­er speak­ers reject­ed the causal­i­ty that young peo­ple will have a stronger deter­mi­na­tion to solve future prob­lems, and that they will add a new “young” per­spec­tive in the epis­temic process of find­ing solu­tions to future prob­lems. The indi­ca­tion by these speak­ers was that envi­ron­men­tal issues are not the top pri­or­i­ty of young people.

Regard­ing the com­po­si­tion of par­ty lists, one speak­er point­ed to the prob­lem of legit­i­ma­cy of the out­come of an elec­tion. The pos­i­tive dis­crim­i­na­tion of youth with­in a soci­etal group has to be jus­ti­fied because oth­er groups could feel dis­ad­van­taged by the imple­men­ta­tion of such a strong instru­ment. Some speak­ers chal­lenged the anal­o­gy of “Youth Quo­tas” to quo­tas for women or eth­nic minori­ties, because women and eth­nic minori­ties can’t change their sta­tus where­as today’s young peo­ple, in the nor­mal course of life, will be the old peo­ple in the future. This means that the dis­ad­van­tage of a per­son in his or her young age is just tem­po­ral. Gen­er­a­tional effects were pit­ted against age effects in this context.

jq_01Some experts point­ed to alter­na­tives to “Youth Quo­tas”. Low­er­ing the vot­ing age and bet­ter polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion in schools, espe­cial­ly, would pro­duce bet­ter results accord­ing to their view. Anoth­er strat­e­gy was seen in the imple­men­ta­tion of proxy votes for the parents.

A vote at the end of the sym­po­sium showed inter­est­ing results: Although sev­er­al prob­lems were not­ed, most of the speak­ers vot­ed for the imple­men­ta­tion of “Youth Quo­tas”. All speak­ers vot­ed for low­er­ing the vot­ing age. The con­clu­sion reached by the aca­d­e­m­ic sym­po­sium is that a pack­age of mea­sures is required, to give ade­quate answers to demo­graph­ic change. “Youth Quo­tas” could be part of this package.


For more infor­ma­tion see the descrip­tion of the sci­en­tif­ic con­tent and the con­fer­ence pro­gram.

The Sym­po­sium was sup­port­ed by the Stiftung Apfel­baum , The Fritz Thyssen Stiftung and ENRI-Future.