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The Discount Rate in Environmental Cost-benefit Analysis

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  • A Heesterman

Abstract

Environmental cost-benefit analysis compares an assessment the benefit of the abatement or containment of a particular form of environmental damage with the cost of the measures needed to attain that abatement or containment. It is in that context, as with other applications of cost-benefit analysis, usual to apply a discount rate. A number of relatively recent textbooks in environmental economics suggest that general economic theory provides a clear and well-established benchmark as to what this discount rate should be: some kind of ?average? of the market rate of interest. There are questions about that assertion in general. Our focus in this paper relates to a more specific problem: the relative scarcity of environmental resources in comparison to produced goods. A specific framework of analysis is offered in that context.

Suggested Citation

  • A Heesterman, 2004. "The Discount Rate in Environmental Cost-benefit Analysis," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 9(1), pages 39-46, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eis:articl:104heesterman
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