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Sustainability, Limited Substitutability and Non-Constant Social Discount Rates

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  • Traeger, Christian P.

Abstract

The paper explores the consequences of limited substitutability in welfare between environmental and produced goods for long-term evaluation. I show how the magnitude and time development of optimal social discount rates depend on the substitutability between the different classes of goods. The notions of weak and strong sustainability are translated into the degree of substitutability. I show that a strong notion of sustainability results in lower weights given to long-run service and consumption streams compared to a weak notion of sustainability.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt10d7d7n4.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt10d7d7n4

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Related research

Keywords: environmental discount rate; hyperbolic; limited substitutability; non-constant discounting; numeraire dependence; project evaluation; propagator of marginal utility; social discount factor; social discount rate; strong sustainability; time preference; weak sustainability; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Life Sciences;

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References

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  1. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Time Horizon and the Discount Rate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 463-473, December.
  2. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  3. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, 08.
  4. Philibert, Cedric, 1999. "The economics of climate change and the theory of discounting," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(15), pages 913-927, December.
  5. Fisher, Anthony C & Krutilla, John V & Cicchetti, Charles J, 1972. "The Economics of Environmental Preservation: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 605-19, September.
  6. Traeger, Christian P., 2008. "Sustainability, Limited Substitutability and Non-Constant Social Discount Rates," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt10d7d7n4, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  7. Dasgupta, Partha, 2001. "Human Well-Being and the Natural Environment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247882.
  8. Ravi Bansal & Dana Kiku & Amir Yaron, 2010. "Long Run Risks, the Macroeconomy, and Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 542-46, May.
  9. Sterner, Thomas & Persson, U. Martin, 2007. "An Even Sterner Review: Introducing Relative Prices into the Discounting Debate," Discussion Papers dp-07-37, Resources For the Future.
  10. Weikard, Hans-Peter & Zhu, Xueqin, 2005. "Discounting and environmental quality: When should dual rates be used?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 868-878, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Annette Vissing-J�rgensen & Orazio P. Attanasio, 2003. "Stock-Market Participation, Intertemporal Substitution, and Risk-Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 383-391, May.
  13. Fisher, Anthony C & Krutilla, John V, 1975. "Resource Conservation, Environmental Preservation, and the Rate of Discount," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 358-70, August.
  14. Gerlagh, Reyer & van der Zwaan, B. C. C., 2002. "Long-Term Substitutability between Environmental and Man-Made Goods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 329-345, September.
  15. Neumayer, Eric, 1999. "Global warming: discounting is not the issue, but substitutability is," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 33-43, January.
  16. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Marjan W. Hofkes, 1997. "A Survey of Economic Modelling of Sustainable Development," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-107/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Larry S. Karp, 2009. "Sacrifice, Discounting and Climate Policy: Five Questions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2761, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Stefan Baumgaertner & Alexandra M. Klein & Denise Thiel & Klara Winkler, 2013. "Ramsey discounting of ecosystem services," Working Paper Series in Economics 281, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  3. Traeger, Christian P., 2008. "Sustainability, Limited Substitutability and Non-Constant Social Discount Rates," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt10d7d7n4, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  4. Gollier, Christian, 2012. "A theory of rational short-termism with uncertain betas," LERNA Working Papers 12.14.371, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  5. Gollier, Christian, 2012. "Asset pricing with uncertain betas: A long-term perspective," IDEI Working Papers 752, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  6. Kögel, Tomas, 2009. "On the Relation between Dual-Rate Discounting and Substitutability," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-10, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  7. Yamaguchi, Rintaro, 2012. "Discounting, Distribution and Disaggregation," MPRA Paper 46322, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Gollier, Christian, 2010. "Ecological discounting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 812-829, March.
  9. Christoph Heinzel, 2014. "Term structure of discount rates under multivariate s-ordered consumption growth," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 14-01, INRA UMR SMART.
  10. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Williams, Roberton C., 2012. "The Choice of Discount Rate for Climate Change Policy Evaluation," Discussion Papers dp-12-43, Resources For the Future.
  11. Kögel, Tomas, 2009. "On the Relation between Discounting of Climate Change and Edgeworth-Pareto Substitutability," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 3(27), pages 1-12.
  12. Éva Pálinkó & Márta Szabó, 2012. "Application of Social Discount Rate in Public Projects," Public Finance Quarterly, State Audit Office of Hungary, vol. 57(2), pages 184-199.

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