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Deciding with long-term environmental impacts: what role for discounting?

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  • Schilizzi, Steven
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    Abstract

    The problem of how to discount values in the far future is reviewed, and shown to lead down a blind alley. An alternative is proposed that allows long term consequences to be addressed by decisions using a relatively short term time horizon. A simple model investigating the optimal containment of radioactive waste in a deterministic world is used to show that current generations can indeed cater for the interests of the far future while optimising over the short term; however, this is not always possible. The proposed method seems to address most of the critiques of long term discounting found in the literature.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/58206
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia with number 58206.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aare03:58206

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    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods;

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    1. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1995. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," MPRA Paper 8609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ariel Rubinstein, 2000. "Is It 'Economics and Psychology?' : The Case of Hyperbolic Discounting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7640, David K. Levine.
    3. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    4. Geir B. Asheim, 1996. "Ethical preferences in the presence of resource constraints," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 23, pages 55-67.
    5. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
    6. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
    7. Cropper, Maureen & Laibson, David, 1998. "The implications of hyperbolic discounting for project evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1943, The World Bank.
    8. John Hartwick, 1976. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers 220, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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