IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Social discounting under uncertainty: A cross-country comparison

  • Hepburn, Cameron
  • Koundouri, Phoebe
  • Panopoulou, Ekaterini
  • Pantelidis, Theologos

Recent research suggests that social cost-benefit analysis should be conducted with a declining discount rate. For instance Newell and Pizer [Discounting the distant future: how much do uncertain rates increase valuations? J. Environ. Econ. Manage. 46 (2003) 52-71] show that the US certainty-equivalent discount rate declines through time, using a simple autoregressive model of US interest rates. This paper extends that line of research, estimating both autoregressive and regime-switching models of real interest rates to determine certainty-equivalent discount rates in Australia, Canada, Germany and the UK. It is found that the regime-switching model is a better model of past interest rate behavior for all four countries. This model tends to produce a more rapid decline in certainty-equivalent discount rates. The paper provides applications to the economics of climate change and nuclear power.

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.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095-0696(08)00070-3
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 57 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 140-150

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:57:y:2009:i:2:p:140-150
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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. 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.
  2. Kwiatkowski, D. & Phillips, P.C.B. & Schmidt, P., 1990. "Testing the Null Hypothesis of Stationarity Against the Alternative of Unit Root : How Sure are we that Economic Time Series have a Unit Root?," Papers 8905, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
  3. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Discounting an uncertain future," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 149-166, August.
  4. Tol, Richard S. J., 2005. "The marginal damage costs of carbon dioxide emissions: an assessment of the uncertainties," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(16), pages 2064-2074, November.
  5. 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.
  6. Chichilnisky, G., 1994. "Sustainable Development and Social Choice," Papers 94-02, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  7. 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.
  8. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Pearce & Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri, 2003. "Valuing the Future," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(2), pages 121-141, April.
  10. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1997. "What Is Sustainable Development?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 467-491.
  11. Garcia, Rene & Perron, Pierre, 1996. "An Analysis of the Real Interest Rate under Regime Shifts," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 111-25, February.
  12. Talbot Page, 2003. "Balancing efficiency and equity in long-run decision-making," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 70-86.
  13. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change, Part II. Dynamic Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(2), pages 135-160, February.
  14. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
  15. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert, 2002. "Regime Switches in Interest Rates," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 163-82, April.
  16. Sergio T. Rebelo, 1990. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 3325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
  18. Wilfred Beckerman & Cameron Hepburn, 2007. "Ethics of the Discount Rate in the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 8(1), pages 187-210, January.
  19. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
  20. Richard Tol, 2002. "Estimates of the Damage Costs of Climate Change. Part 1: Benchmark Estimates," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 47-73, January.
  21. Li, Chuan-Zhong & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2000. "Renewable Resources and Economic Sustainability: A Dynamic Analysis with Heterogeneous Time Preferences," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 236-250, November.
  22. Lamoureux, Christopher G & Lastrapes, William D, 1990. "Persistence in Variance, Structural Change, and the GARCH Model," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(2), pages 225-34, April.
  23. Sandmo, Agnar, 1972. "Discount Rates for Public Investment under Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(2), pages 287-302, June.
  24. Dieter Bräuninger, 2003. "Demographics and Pension Reforms in the Major Central and Eastern European Countries," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(1), pages 117-132, January.
  25. 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.
  26. Hamilton, James D., 1988. "Rational-expectations econometric analysis of changes in regime : An investigation of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 385-423.
  27. Ait-Sahalia, Yacine, 1996. "Testing Continuous-Time Models of the Spot Interest Rate," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(2), pages 385-426.
  28. 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.
  29. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  30. David Pearce, 2003. "The Social Cost of Carbon and its Policy Implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 362-384.
  31. Schelling, Thomas C, 1995. "Intergenerational discounting," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 395-401.
  32. Pena-Torres, Julio & Pearson, Peter J. G., 2000. "Carbon abatement and new investment in liberalised electricity markets: a nuclear revival in the UK?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 115-135, February.
  33. 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.
  34. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Time Horizon and the Discount Rate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 463-473, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:57:y:2009:i:2:p:140-150. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.