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Social Discounting Under Uncertainty: A cross-country comparison

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  • Cameron Hepburn
  • Phoebe Koundouri
  • Ekaterini Panopoulou
  • Theologos Pantelidis

Abstract

Recent research suggests that social cost-benefit analysis should be con- ducted with a declining discount rate. For instance, Newell and Pizer [23] show that the U.S. certainty-equivalent discount rate declines through time, using a simple autoregressive model of U.S. interest rates. This paper extends that line of research, estimating both autoregressive and regime-switching models of real interest rates to determine certainty- equivalent discount rates in Australia, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. It is found that the regime-switching model is a better model of past interest rate behavior for all four countries. This model tends to produce a more rapid decline in certainty-equivalent discount rates. The paper provides applications to the economics of climate change and nuclear power.

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Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp177.

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Date of creation: 16 Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp177

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Keywords: discounting; uncertainty; regime-switching models; climate change policy; nuclear power;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mark C. Freeman & Ben Groom & Ekaterini Panopoulou & Theologos Pantelidis, 2013. "Declining discount rates and the Fisher Effect: Inflated past, discounted future?," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 109, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  2. Iverson, Terrence, 2013. "Minimax regret discounting," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 598-608.
  3. Koen Vermeylen, 2013. "The Consumption Discount Rate for the Distant Future (if we do not die out)," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-201/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Cropper, Maureen, 2012. "How Should Benefits and Costs Be Discounted in an Intergenerational Context?," Discussion Papers dp-12-42, Resources For the Future.
  5. GOLLIER Christian, 2008. "Should we discount the far-distant future at its lowest possible rate?," LERNA Working Papers 08.30.274, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  6. Birol, Ekin & Koundouri, Phoebe & Kountouris, Yiannis, 2009. "Assessing the economic viability of alternative water resources in water-scarce regions: Combining economic valuation, cost-benefit analysis and discounting," IFPRI discussion papers 908, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Mark C. Freeman & Ben Groom, 2013. "How certain are we about the certainty-equivalent long term social discount rate?," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 138, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  8. GOLLIER Christian & KOUNDOURI Phoebe & PANTELIDIS Theologos, 2008. "Declining Discount Rates : Economic Justifications and Implications for Long-Run Policy," LERNA Working Papers 08.17.261, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  9. Howard, Gregory, 2013. "Discounting for personal and social payments: Patience for others, impatience for ourselves," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 583-597.
  10. Koen Vermeylen, 2013. "Non-Marginal Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Tyranny of Discounting," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-203/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Mareike Schad & Jürgen John, 2012. "Towards a social discount rate for the economic evaluation of health technologies in Germany: an exploratory analysis," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 127-144, April.
  12. Gowdy, John & Rosser, J. Barkley & Roy, Loraine, 2013. "The evolution of hyperbolic discounting: Implications for truly social valuation of the future," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages S94-S104.
  13. Hultkrantz, Lars & Krüger, Niclas & Mantalos , Panagiotis, 2012. "Risk-adjusted long term social rates of discount for transportation infrastructure investment," Working Papers 2012:14, Örebro University, School of Business.
  14. Birol, Ekin & Koundouri, Phoebe & Kountouris, Yiannis, 2009. "Assessing the economic viability of alternative water resources in water scarce regions: The roles of economic valuation, cost–benefit analysis and discounting," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51692, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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