In Governing for the Long Term, Alan M. Jacobs investigates the conditions under which elected governments invest in long-term social benefits at short-term social cost. Jacobs contends that, along the path to adoption, investment-oriented policies must surmount three distinct hurdles to future-oriented state action: a problem of electoral risk, rooted in the scarcity of voter attention; a problem of prediction, deriving from the complexity of long-term policy effects; and a problem of institutional capacity, arising from interest groups' preferences for distributive gains over intertemporal bargains. Testing this argument through a four-country historical analysis of pension policymaking, the book illuminates crucial differences between the causal logics of distributive and intertemporal politics and makes a case for bringing trade-offs over time to the center of the study of policymaking.

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