Which rates should we use to discount costs and benefits of different natures at different time horizons? We answer this question by considering a representative agent consuming two goods whose availability evolves over time in a stochastic way. We extend the Ramsey rule by taking into account the degree of substitutability between the two goods and of the uncertainty surrounding the economic and environmental growths. The rate at which environmental impacts should be discounted is in general different from the one at which monetary benefits should be discounted. We provide arguments in favor of an ecological discount rate smaller than the economic discount rate. In particular, we show that, under certainty and Cobb-Douglas preferences, the difference between the economic and the ecological discount rates equals the difference between the economic and the ecological growth rates. Using data about the link between biodiversity and economic development, I estimate that the rate at which changes in biodiversity should be discounted is 1.5%, whereas changes in consumption should be discounted at 3.2%.
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.:
- Miles S. Kimball, 1989.
"Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large,"
NBER Working Papers
2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
- Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1995.
"The equity premium: it's still a puzzle,"
Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics
102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Louis Eeckhoudt & Harris Schlesinger, 2006.
"Putting Risk in Its Proper Place,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 280-289, March.
- Paul R. Milgrom, 1981.
"Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications,"
Bell Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
- Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Louis Eeckhoudt & Béatrice Rey & Harris Schlesinger, 2006.
"A Good Sign for Multivariate Risk Taking,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
1796, CESifo Group Munich.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "Subjective Expectations and Asset-Return Puzzles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1102-1130, September.
- Traeger, Christian P., 2011.
"Sustainability, limited substitutability, and non-constant social discount rates,"
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 215-228, September.
- Traeger, Christian P., 2008. "Sustainability, Limited Substitutability and Non-Constant Social Discount Rates," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt10d7d7n4, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
- Traeger, Christian P, 2007. "Sustainability, limited substitutability and non-constant social discount rates," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1045, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
- Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Time Horizon and the Discount Rate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 463-473, December.
- Roger Guesnerie, 2004.
"Calcul économique et développement durable,"
DELTA Working Papers
2004-02, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- Daniel L. Millimet & John A. List & Thanasis Stengos, 2003.
"The Environmental Kuznets Curve: Real Progress or Misspecified Models?,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1038-1047, November.
- Stengos, T. & Millimet, D.L. & List, J.A., 2002. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve: Real Progress or Misspecified Models?," Working Papers 2002-13, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
- Gollier, Christian, 2004.
"The Consumption-Based Determinants of the Term Structure of Discount Rates,"
IDEI Working Papers
296, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Christian Gollier, 2005. "The Consumption-Based Determinants of the Term Structure of Discount Rates," CESifo Working Paper Series 1375, CESifo Group Munich.
- Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
- repec:hal:journl:hal-00283170 is not listed on IDEAS
- Kimball, Miles S, 1993.
"Standard Risk Aversion,"
Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 589-611, May.
- Ekaterini Panopoulou & Ben Groom & Phoebe Koundouri & Theologos Pantelidis, 2004. "An Econometric Approach To Estimating Long-Run Discount Rates," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 70, Royal Economic Society.
- Sterner, Thomas & Persson, U. Martin, 2007. "An Even Sterner Review: Introducing Relative Prices into the Discounting Debate," Discussion Papers dp-07-37, Resources For the Future.
- Weikard, Hans-Peter & Zhu, Xueqin, 2005. "Discounting and environmental quality: When should dual rates be used?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 868-878, September.
- repec:hal:journl:hal-00283446 is not listed on IDEAS
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:2:p:812-829. 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.