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Mock Referenda for Intergenerational Decisionmaking

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  • Kopp, Raymond

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

  • Portney, Paul

Abstract

Traditional applications of benefit-cost analysis make use of what we refer to as the "damage function and discounting" (or DFD) approach. This approach is well suited to the analysis of projects for which the principal benefits and costs occur within the next thirty to forty years, say. However, for projects with significant intergenerational consequences--i.e., impacts that do not arise for hundreds of years or more--the DFD approach becomes almost intractable. We propose an alternative conception of benefit-cost analysis for intergenerational decision-making--the mock referendum--that is: (i) arguably more consistent with the tenets of modern welfare economics; (ii) more amenable to the analysis of long-term projects or policies; and (iii) consistent with political decision(s) that must be made if climate mitigation (or other long-term environmental protection) measures are to be taken.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-97-48.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 1997
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-97-48

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  1. 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.
  2. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Kopp, Raymond, 2004. "Near-Term Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets," Discussion Papers dp-04-41, Resources For the Future.
  2. Almansa Sáez, Carmen & Calatrava Requena, Javier, 2007. "La Problemática Del Descuento En La Evaluación Económica De Proyectos Con Impacto Intergeneracional: Tasa Ambiental Crítica Y Montante De Transferencia Intergeneracional/Discounting In The Context," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 25, pages 165-198, Abril.
  3. Michael Toman, 1998. "Research Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 603-621, April.
  4. Helen Scarborough & Michael Burton & Jeff Bennett, 2009. "Decision-making in a Social Welfare Context," Economics Series 2009_02, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  5. Schmid, A. Allan, 2004. "Economic Analysis And Efficiency In Public Expenditure," Staff Papers 11776, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  6. J.K. Horowitz, 2002. "Preferences in the Future," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(3), pages 241-258, March.

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