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The Ramsey Discounting Formula for a Hidden-State Stochastic Growth Process

  • Martin Weitzman

    ()

The long term discount rate is critically dependent upon projections of future growth rates that are fuzzier in proportion to the remoteness of the time horizon. This paper models such increasing fuzziness as an evolving hidden-state stochastic process. The underlying trend growth rate is an unobservable random walk hidden by noisy transitory shocks and recoverable only as a probability distribution via Bayesian updating. A simple expression is derived for the time-declining Ramsey discount rate. The components of this hidden-state Ramsey discounting formula are then analyzed, followed by a few remarks about possible implications and applications. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-012-9594-y
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Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 53 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 309-321

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:53:y:2012:i:3:p:309-321
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

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  1. Christian Gollier & Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "How Should the Distant Future be Discounted when Discount Rates are Uncertain?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2863, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2004. "Uncertain discount rates in climate policy analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 519-529, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "Discounting climate change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 141-169, December.
  6. 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.
  7. Christian Gollier, 2012. "Pricing the Planet's Future: The Economics of Discounting in an Uncertain World," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 9894.
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