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Characterizing the amount and speed of discounting procedures

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  • Dean T. Jamison
  • Julian C. Jamison
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    Abstract

    This paper introduces the concept of categorizing the amount and speed of a discounting procedure in order to generate well-characterized families of procedures for use in social project evaluation. Exponential discounting isolates the concepts of amount and speed into a single parameter that must be disaggregated in order to characterize nonconstant rate procedures. The inverse of the present value of a unit stream of benefits provides a natural measure of the amount a procedure discounts the future. We propose geometrical- and time horizon-based measures of how rapidly a procedure acquires its ultimate present value, and we prove these values are the same.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 10-14.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:10-14

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    Keywords: Production (Economic theory) ; Discount;

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    1. Bleichrodt, Han & Gafni, Amiram, 1996. "Time preference, the discounted utility model and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 49-66, February.
    2. Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 2001. "Instantaneous Gratification," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000267, www.najecon.org.
    3. Hara, Chiaki & Huang, James & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2007. "Representative Consumer's Risk Aversion and Efficient Risk-Sharing Rules," Discussion Paper 323, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
    5. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. Cropper, Maureen L & Aydede, Sema K & Portney, Paul R, 1994. "Preferences for Life Saving Programs: How the Public Discounts Time and Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 243-65, May.
    7. Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri & David Pearce, 2005. "Declining Discount Rates: The Long and the Short of it," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 445-493, December.
    8. Pizer, William & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Discounting the Distant Future: How Much Do Uncertain Rates Increase Valuations?," Discussion Papers dp-00-45, Resources For the Future.
    9. Yvan Lengwiler, 2005. "Heterogeneous Patience and the Term Structure of Real Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 890-896, June.
    10. Weitzman, Martin L., 1998. "Why the Far-Distant Future Should Be Discounted at Its Lowest Possible Rate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 201-208, November.
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