On the Underestimation of the Precautionary Effect in Discounting
AbstractUsing the extended Ramsey rule, the socially efficient rate is the difference between a wealth effect and a precautionary effect of economic growth. This second effect is increasing in the degree of uncertainty affecting the future. In the literature, it is usually calibrated by estimating the historical volatility of the growth of GDP in a specific country. In this paper, I show that using cross-section data tends to magnify uncertainty, and to reduce the discount rate. Using a data set covering 190 countries over the period 1969-2010, I justify using a much smaller discount rate around 0.7% per year for time horizons exceeding 40 years.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3536.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
discount rate; prudence; climate change;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D90 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - General
- Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Time Horizon and the Discount Rate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 463-473, December.
- Saul Pleeter & John T. Warner, 2001. "The Personal Discount Rate: Evidence from Military Downsizing Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 33-53, March.
- Christian Gollier, 2008.
"Discounting with fat-tailed economic growth,"
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,
Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 171-186, December.
- Gollier, Christian & Weitzman, Martin, 2009.
"How Should the Distant Future be Discounted When Discount Rates are Uncertain?,"
TSE Working Papers
09-107, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
- Gollier, Christian & Weitzman, Martin L., 2010. "How should the distant future be discounted when discount rates are uncertain?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(3), pages 350-353, June.
- Christian Gollier & Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "How Should the Distant Future be Discounted when Discount Rates are Uncertain?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2863, CESifo Group Munich.
- Gollier, Christian & Weitzman, Martin, 2009. "How Should the Distant Future be Discounted When Discount Rates are Uncertain?," IDEI Working Papers 588, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972.
"Consumption decisions under uncertainty,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
- Kimball, Miles S, 1990.
"Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large,"
Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
- Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.