Appropriate Discounting for Benefit-Cost Analysis
In order to be sensible about what discount rate to use one must be clear about its purpose. We suggest that its purpose is to help select those projects that will contribute more net benefits than some other discount rate. This approach, which is after all the foundation for benefit-cost analysis, helps to reconcile different suggested procedures for determining the discount rate. We suggest that the social opportunity cost of capital (SOC) is superior to other suggested approaches in its generality and its ease of use. We use the SOC to determine a range of real rates that vary between 6% and 8%. We suggest that approaches based on determination of preferences, which result in hyperbolic discounting, are less appropriate and less useful.
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.:
- Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979.
"Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows,"
NBER Working Papers
0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J. Doyne Farmer & John Geanakoplos, 2009.
"Hyperbolic Discounting Is Rational: Valuing the Far Future with Uncertain Discount Rates,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
1719, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- J. Doyne Farmer & John Geanakoplos, 2009. "Hyperbolic discounting is rational: Valuing the far future with uncertain discount rates," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000356, David K. Levine.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 2001.
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 260-271, March.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "Gamma Discounting," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1843, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Sandmo, Agnar & Dreze, Jacques H, 1971. "Discount Rates for Public Investment in Closed and Open Economies," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 38(152), pages 395-412, November.
- Sjaastad, Larry A & Wisecarver, Daniel L, 1977. "The Social Cost of Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 513-547, June.
- Mark A. Moore & Anthony E. Boardman & Aidan R. Vining & David L. Weimer & David H. Greenberg, 2004. "“Just give me a number!” Practical values for the social discount rate," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 789-812.
- Revesz, Richard L., 1999. "Environmental Regulation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and the Discounting of Human Lives," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt57q8284f, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
- Robert E. Hall, 1981.
"Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption,"
NBER Working Papers
0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard Zerbe, 2004. "Should moral sentiments be incorporated into benefit-cost analysis? An example of long-term discounting," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 37(3), pages 305-318, December.
- Simon Gilchrist & Fabio M. Natalucci & Egon Zakrajsek, 2007.
"Investment and the Cost of Capital: New Evidence from the Corporate Bond Market,"
Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series
WP2007-027, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Simon Gilchrist & Egon Zakrajsek, 2007. "Investment and the Cost of Capital: New Evidence from the Corporate Bond Market," NBER Working Papers 13174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Liu, Liqun, 2003. "A marginal cost of funds approach to multi-period public project evaluation: implications for the social discount rate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1707-1718, August.
- Liqun Liu & Andrew J. Rettenmaie & Thomas R. Saving, 2004. "A Generalized Approach to Multigeneration Project Evaluation," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 377-396, October.
- Burgess, David F., 2013. "Reconciling alternative views about the appropriate social discount rate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 9-17.
- Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "Discounting climate change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 141-169, December.
- Anthony E. Boardman & Mark A. Moore & Aidan R. Vining, 2010. "The Social Discount Rate for Canada Based on Future Growth in Consumption," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 36(3), pages 325-343, September.
- Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 2010.
"Consumption and Saving: Models of Intertemporal Allocation and Their Implications for Public Policy,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 693-751, September.
- Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 2010. "Consumption and Saving: Models of Intertemporal Allocation and Their Implications for Public Policy," NBER Working Papers 15756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephen A. Marglin, 1963. "The Opportunity Costs of Public Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(2), pages 274-289.
- 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 M. Poterba, 1999.
"The Rate of Return to Corporate Capital and Factor Shares: New EstimatesUsing Revised National Income Accounts and Capital Stock Data,"
NBER Working Papers
6263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Poterba, James M., 1998. "The rate of return to corporate capital and factor shares: new estimates using revised national income accounts and capital stock data," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 211-246, June.
- Bradford, David F, 1975. "Constraints on Government Investment Opportunities and the Choice of Discount Rate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 887-899, December.
- 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.
- Harberger, Arnold C, 1971. "Three Basic Postulates for Applied Welfare Economics: An Interpretive Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 785-797, September.
- Goodin, Robert E., 1982. "Discounting Discounting," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 53-71, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:2:y:2011:i:2:n:2. 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.