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

Should We Discount the Far-Distant Future at Its Lowest Possible Rate?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Gollier, Christian

Abstract

In this paper, we elaborate on an idea initially developed by Weitzman (1998) that justifies taking the lowest possible discount rate for far-distant future cash flows. His argument relies on the arbitrary assumption that when the future rate of return of capital (RRC) is uncertain, one should invest in any project with a positive expected net present value. We examine an economy with a risk-averse representative agent facing an uncertain evolution of the RRC. In this context, we characterize the socially efficient stochastic consumption path, which allows us in turn to use the Ramsey rule to characterize the term structure of socially efficient discount rates. We show that Weitzman's claim is qualitatively correct if shocks on the RRC are persistent. On the contrary, in the absence of any serial correlation in the RRC, the term structure of discount rates should be flat. --

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-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2009-7
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/27488/1/dp2009-7.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2009-7.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:7486

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Kiellinie 66, D-24105 Kiel
Phone: +49 431 8814-1
Fax: +49 431 8814528
Email:
Web page: http://www.economics-ejournal.org/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Discount rate; term structure; certainty equivalent rate; Ramsey rule; sustainable development;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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. Hepburn, Cameron & Koundouri, Phoebe & Panopoulou, Ekaterini & Pantelidis, Theologos, 2009. "Social discounting under uncertainty: A cross-country comparison," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 140-150, March.
  2. Christian Gollier & Phoebe Koundouri & Theologos Pantelidis, 2008. "Declining discount rates: Economic justifications and implications for long-run policy," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 23, pages 757-795, October.
  3. Martin L. Weitzman, 2001. "Gamma Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 260-271, March.
  4. Gollier, Christian, 2009. "Expected Net Present Value, Expected Net Future Value, and the Ramsey Rule," TSE Working Papers 09-049, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  5. Gollier, Christian, 2004. "Maximizing the expected net future value as an alternative strategy to gamma discounting," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 85-89, June.
  6. Christian Gollier, 2005. "The Consumption-Based Determinants of the Term Structure of Discount Rates," CESifo Working Paper Series 1375, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Time Horizon and the Discount Rate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 463-473, December.
  8. Pazner, Elisha A & Razin, Assaf, 1974. "A Model of Investment under Interest Rate Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(3), pages 798-802, October.
  9. Ekaterini Panopoulou & B. Groom & P. Koundouri & Theologos Pantelidis, 2005. "Discounting the distant future: How much does model selection affect the certainty equivalent rate?," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n1480105, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  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.
  11. Wolfgang Buchholz & Jan Schumacher, 2008. "Discounting the Long-Distant Future: A Simple Explanation for the Weitzman-Gollier-Puzzle," CESifo Working Paper Series 2357, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Hepburn, Cameron & Groom, Ben, 2007. "Gamma discounting and expected net future value," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-109, January.
  13. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Discounting the distant future: how much do uncertain rates increase valuations?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 52-71, July.
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. Nicole El Karoui & Mohamed Mrad & Caroline Hillairet, 2014. "Ramsey Rule with Progressive utility and Long Term Affine Yields Curves," Working Papers hal-00974831, HAL.
  2. Nicole El Karoui & Caroline Hillairet & Mohamed Mrad, 2014. "Ramsey Rule with Progressive Utility in Long Term Yield Curves Modeling," Papers 1404.1895, arXiv.org.
  3. Gollier, Christian, 2010. "Expected net present value, expected net future value, and the Ramsey rule," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 142-148, March.
  4. Traeger, Christian P., 2013. "Discounting under uncertainty: Disentangling the Weitzman and the Gollier effect," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 573-582.
  5. Iverson, Terrence, 2013. "Minimax regret discounting," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 598-608.
  6. 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.
  7. Weitzman, Martin L., 2010. "Risk-adjusted gamma discounting," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-13, July.
  8. Nicole El Karoui & Caroline Hillairet & Mohamed Mrad, 2014. "Ramsey Rule with Progressive Utility in Long Term Yield Curves Modeling," Working Papers hal-00974815, HAL.
  9. Nicole El Karoui & Mohamed Mrad & Caroline Hillairet, 2014. "Ramsey Rule with Progressive utility and Long Term Affine Yields Curves," Papers 1404.1913, arXiv.org.
  10. Freeman, Mark C., 2009. "Yes, we should discount the far-distant future at its lowest possible rate: a resolution of the Weitzman-Gollier puzzle," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-42, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

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:zbw:ifwedp:7486. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

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.