Low discount rates and insignificant environmental values
Difference between the discount rate on consumption and the rate of return on investment is often taken to prevent the former's being used as a social discount rate. Yet techniques have long been known for incorporating both these rates in a shadow price of investment funds. Assumptions about the proportion of investment revenues saved and reinvested are crucial in determining whether a low discount rate favours or discriminates against long-term environmental values. Even a moderate saving rate may make the shadow price of funds indefinitely large. The conceptually correct discount rate then becomes the growth rate of investment funds, and the relative value of environmental effects becomes zero. Stochastic variation in rate of return makes this result more likely. Such an outcome may be avoided by setting reinvestment to zero, or assuming convergence of rates of return and discount, but no firm justification exists for these stratagems. However, various reasonable assumptions about environmental costs - especially, that they embody an investment element, or require adequate compensation to be paid - may make such costs indefinite also, and therefore capable of standing against indefinite values of investible funds.
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.
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.:
- C. Price, 1991. "Do High Discount Rates Destroy Tropical Forests," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1), pages 77-85.
- Stefan Bayer, 2003. "Generation-adjusted discounting in long-term decision-making," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 1133-149.
- Anthony C. Fisher & John V. Krutilla, 1975. "Resource Conservation, Environmental Preservation, and the Rate of Discount," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(3), pages 358-370.
- 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 513-47, June.
- Nichols, Alan, 1969. "On the Social Rate of Discount: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(5), pages 909-11, December.
- Harry F. Campbell, 1981. "Shadow-Prices for the Economic Appraisal of Public Sector Expenditures," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 7(3), pages 395-398, Summer.
- Rabl, Ari, 1996. "Discounting of long-term costs: What would future generations prefer us to do?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 137-145, June.
- Colin Price, 2003. "Diminishing marginal utility: the respectable case for discounting?," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 117-132.
- C. C. von Weizsäcker, 1967. "Lemmas for a Theory of Approximate Optimal Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 143-151.
- Sumaila, Ussif R. & Walters, Carl, 2005. "Intergenerational discounting: a new intuitive approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 135-142, January.
- Padilla, Emilio, 2002. "Intergenerational equity and sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 69-83, April.
- Nichols, Alan, 1971. "Normalisation Procedure for Public Investment Criteria: Further Comment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(321), pages 122-25, March.
- Lind, Robert C., 1990. "Reassessing the government's discount rate policy in light of new theory and data in a world economy with a high degree of capital mobility," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages S8-S28, March.
- Lyon, Randolph M., 1990. "Federal discount rate policy, the shadow price of capital, and challenges for reforms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages S29-S50, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:10:p:1895-1903. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)
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.