Effect of proxy voting for children under the voting age on parental altruism towards future generations

Yoshio Kamijo, Teruyuki Tamura, Yoichi Hizen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


What types of people are most concerned about the sustainability of our society? Does empowering such people in the political process influence us to make collective decisions that best serve the interests of future generations? This study invites 1000 parents with children under the legal voting age and 1000 parents with children over the legal voting age to an incentivized donation experiment in which a donation will be made to non-profit organizations committed to a better future society. The size of the donation per participant is determined by vote among the participants. We compare two voting rules: ordinary voting, whereby each participant is given one ballot, and proxy voting, whereby parents with unenfranchised children are given an extra ballot on behalf of their children. We observe that, with ordinary voting, the mothers with children under the voting age exhibit a higher degree of altruism towards future generations. With proxy voting, however, this distinction disappears. Furthermore, with proxy voting, the overall average donation indicated by participants is smaller than that indicated under ordinary voting. These observations imply that empowering institutionally those who tend to be more altruistic does not necessarily result in collective decisions that are more altruistic towards future generations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102569
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept


  • Altruism
  • Future generation
  • Online experiment
  • Parents
  • Proxy voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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