Characterizing the Amount and Speed of Discounting Procedures
This paper introduces the concepts of amount and speed of a discounting procedure in order to generate well-characterized families of procedures for use in social project evaluation. Exponential discounting sequesters the concepts of amount and speed into a single parameter that needs to 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 discounting procedure acquires its ultimate present value, and we prove these to be the same. This provides an unambiguous measure of the speed of discounting, a measure whose values lie between 0 (slow) and 2 (fast). Exponential discounting has a speed of 1. A commonly proposed approach to aggregating individual discounting procedures into a social one for project evaluation averages the individual discount functions. We point to serious shortcoming with this approach and propose an alternative for which the amount and time horizon of the social procedure are the averages of the amounts and time horizons of the individual procedures. We further show that the social procedure will in general be slower than the average of the speeds of the individual procedures. For potential applications in social project evaluation we characterize three families of two-parameter discounting procedures hyperbolic, gamma, and Weibull in terms of their discount functions, their discount rate functions, their amounts, their speeds and their time horizons. (The appendix characterizes additional families, including the quasi-hyperbolic one.) A one parameter version of hyperbolic discounting, d(t) = (1+rt)-2, has amount r and speed 0, and this procedure is our candidate for use in social project evaluation, although additional empirical work will be needed to fully justify a one-parameter simplification of more general procedures.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 2 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jbca|
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.:
- 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.
- Hara, C. & Christoph Kuzmics, 2004.
"Representative Consumer's Risk Aversion and Efficient Risk-Sharing Rules,"
Cambridge Working Papers in Economics
0452, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- Hara, Chiaki & Huang, James & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2007. "Representative consumer's risk aversion and efficient risk-sharing rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 652-672, November.
- Chiaki Hara & James Huang & Christoph Kuzmics, 2006. "Representative Consumer's Risk Aversion and Efficient Risk-Sharing Rules," KIER Working Papers 620, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
- 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.
- Nelson, Charles R & Siegel, Andrew F, 1987. "Parsimonious Modeling of Yield Curves," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(4), pages 473-489, October.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 1998.
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1843, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Bagnoli, M. & Bergstrom, T., 1989.
"Log-Concave Probability And Its Applications,"
89-23, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Lawrence Summers & Richard Zeckhauser, 2008.
"Policymaking for posterity,"
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,
Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 115-140, December.
- Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2008. "Policymaking for Posterity," NBER Working Papers 14359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Summers, Lawrence & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2008. "Policymaking for Posterity," Working Paper Series rwp08-040, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- 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.
- John A. Cairns & Marjon M. Van Der Pol, 1997. "Saving future lives. A comparison of three discounting models," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 341-350.
- 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.
- Gollier, Christian & Weitzman, Martin L., 2010.
"How should the distant future be discounted when discount rates are uncertain?,"
Elsevier, vol. 107(3), pages 350-353, June.
- Gollier, Christian & Weitzman, Martin, 2009. "How Should the Distant Future be Discounted When Discount Rates are Uncertain?," IDEI Working Papers 588, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Gollier, Christian & Weitzman, Martin, 2009. "How Should the Distant Future be Discounted When Discount Rates are Uncertain?," TSE Working Papers 09-107, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
- Christian Gollier & Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "How Should the Distant Future be Discounted when Discount Rates are Uncertain?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2863, CESifo Group Munich.
- 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 243-265, May.
- Jonathan E. Ingersoll Jr. & Philip H. Dybvig & Stephen A. Ross, 1998.
"Long Forward and Zero-Coupon Rates Can Never Fall,"
Yale School of Management Working Papers
ysm45, Yale School of Management.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Christian Gollier & Richard Zeckhauser, 2005. "Aggregation of Heterogeneous Time Preferences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 878-896, August.
- George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
- Harvey, Charles M., 1994. "The reasonableness of non-constant discounting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 31-51, January.
- Read, Daniel, 2001. "Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
- Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri & David Pearce, 2005. "Declining Discount Rates: The Long and the Short of it," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 445-493, December.
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- James Vaupel & Kenneth Manton & Eric Stallard, 1979. "The impact of heterogeneity in individual frailty on the dynamics of mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 16(3), pages 439-454, August.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:2:y:2011:i:2:n:1. 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: (Peter Golla)
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.