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Preferences in the Future

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  • J.K. Horowitz

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Abstract

Environmental economics has been much occupied with “the discount rate,” which is the value of future costs and benefits relative to present costsor benefits. But at least as important is the question of whatshould be discounted, that is, what the value of those future environmentalbenefits is to future generations. This paper analyzes the role for futurepreferences and discusses the state of knowledge. I argue that theappropriate discount rate is the market one, and that the real problemis determining future willingness-to-pay. This approach makes clearerthe connection between discounting and the valuation debate. This paper focuses on two features that have been prominent in that debate:existence value and reference dependence. I argue that thereis a vital connection between the two constructs and that this link yieldsimportant implications for future willingness-to-pay. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Suggested Citation

  • J.K. Horowitz, 2002. "Preferences in the Future," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(3), pages 241-258, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:21:y:2002:i:3:p:241-258
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1014592629514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Tol, 2012. "On the Uncertainty About the Total Economic Impact of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(1), pages 97-116, September.
    2. Kögel, Tomas, 2011. "On the Relation between Discounting of Climate Change and Edgeworth-Pareto Substitutability," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 3, pages 1-12.
    3. Veisten, Knut, 2007. "Contingent valuation controversies: Philosophic debates about economic theory," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 204-232, April.
    4. Tol, Richard S. J., 2004. "On dual-rate discounting," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 95-98, January.
    5. Borissov, Kirill & Shakhnov, Kirill, 2011. "Sustainable growth in a model with dual-rate discounting," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 2071-2074, July.
    6. Kögel, Tomas, 2009. "On the Relation between Dual-Rate Discounting and Substitutability," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-10, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    7. Stefan Baumgärtner & Alexandra Klein & Denise Thiel & Klara Winkler, 2015. "Ramsey Discounting of Ecosystem Services," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 61(2), pages 273-296, June.
    8. Marc D. Davidson, 2012. "Intergenerational Justice: How Reasonable Man Discounts Climate Damage," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, January.
    9. Phoebe Koundouri & Ben Groom, "undated". "Sustainability and the Economics of the Environment: Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Dynamics of the Long-Run Discount Rate," DEOS Working Papers 0903, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    10. David Anthoff & Richard Tol, 2009. "The Impact of Climate Change on the Balanced Growth Equivalent: An Application of FUND," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(3), pages 351-367, July.
    11. Yohe, Gary W. & Tol, Richard S. J. & Anthoff, David, 2009. "Discounting for Climate Change," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 3, pages 1-22.
    12. Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri & David Pearce, "undated". "Implications of declining discount rates: Climate Change Policy in the UK," DEOS Working Papers 0702, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    13. Anthoff, David & Tol, Richard S. J., 2011. "Schelling's Conjecture on Climate and Development: A Test," Papers WP390, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    14. 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.
    15. Anthoff, David, 2009. "Optimal Global Dynamic Carbon Taxation," Papers WP278, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

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