Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Hyperbolic Discounting and Resource Collapse

Contents:

Author Info

  • Cameron Hepburn

Abstract

This paper shows that the use of hyperbolic discounting in environmental regulation can have unfortunate consequences. In a three-period model we demonstrate that a planner who `naively` employs hyperbolic discounting and fails to anticipate problems of dynamic inconsistency, can oversee a collapse of a renewable resource. If the regeneration rate of the resource is within a given range, and stock levels are close to the `minimum viable population`, then an unforeseen collapse will result. This basic result is shown to hold in an infinite-horizon, continuous-time model with hyperbolic discounting of the sort examined in Barro (1999) and Li and Lofgren (2001). Here, the naive planner does not anticipate extinction of its resource stock because it always plans to lower consumption (but it never does). Two conclusions follow from these results. First, the model provides an explanation for resource collapses such as that of the Peruvian anchovy and Atlantic cod. Second, governments should think carefully before they employ hyperbolic discounting in policymaking.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper159.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 159.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 May 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:159

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Email:
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: hyperbolic discounting; time-inconsistency; renewable resources;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  3. Barrett, Scott, 1990. "The Problem of Global Environmental Protection," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 68-79, Spring.
  4. Chichilnisky, G., 1994. "Sustainable Development and Social Choice," Papers 94-02, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  5. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  6. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Ramsey Meets Laibson In The Neoclassical Growth Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1125-1152, November.
  7. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Willpower and Personal Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 3143, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. David Pearce & Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri, 2003. "Valuing the Future," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(2), pages 121-141, April.
  9. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
  10. Read, Daniel, 2001. " Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
  11. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  13. Cropper, Maureen & Laibson, David, 1998. "The implications of hyperbolic discounting for project evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1943, The World Bank.
  14. Dieter Bräuninger, 2003. "Demographics and Pension Reforms in the Major Central and Eastern European Countries," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(1), pages 117-132, January.
  15. Rubinstein, Ariel, 2001. "A theorist's view of experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 615-628, May.
  16. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
  17. Li, Chuan-Zhong & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2000. "Renewable Resources and Economic Sustainability: A Dynamic Analysis with Heterogeneous Time Preferences," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 236-250, November.
  18. Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Groom, Ben & Hepburn, Cameron & Koundouri, Phoebe & Pearce, David, 2007. "Implications of declining discount rates: Climate Change Policy in the UK," MPRA Paper 38428, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Winkler, Ralph, 2009. "Now or Never: Environmental Protection under Hyperbolic Discounting," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 3(12), pages 1-22.
  3. Winkler, Ralph, 2006. "Does 'better' discounting lead to 'worse' outcomes in long-run decisions? The dilemma of hyperbolic discounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 573-582, June.
  4. 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.
  5. Ondřej Vojáček, 2011. "Preference Dilemma in Economics," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(3), pages 345-358.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:159. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Caroline Wise).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.