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Choix du taux d'actualisation social et environnement

Listed author(s):
  • Jacques Benhaim
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    [fre] Certains économistes de l'environnement ont formulé des critiques sur l'utilisation d'un taux d'actualisation social positif dans les choix de projet pour lesquels l'environnement apparaît comme une composante importante. Les fondements de l'opération d'actualisation indiquent qu'un taux d'actualisation nul ou négatif peut se concevoir dans certaines circonstances. Nous montrons notamment que l'existence de plusieurs taux d'actualisation est possible, selon la nature des projets envisagés, voire pour un même projet, ce qui répond à certaines objections adressées à la proposition d'un taux d'actualisation faible ou nul. Par ailleurs, étant donné qu'il est difficile de déterminer un équivalent monétaire pour les biens d'environnement, la procédure d'actualisation appliquée à ce type de biens nous paraît peu pertinente. Néanmoins, du fait que le choix du taux d'actualisation social soit davantage soumis à des critères politiques ou subjectifs qu'économiques, une pluralité de taux impliquerait de nombreuses difficultés d'ordre pratique. C'est pourquoi il conviendrait mieux de recourir à des moyens alternatifs ayant les mêmes effets qu'une baisse du taux lorsque des fonctions environnementales sont en cause. [eng] Some environmental economists have criticized the use of a positive social discount rate for projects choice concerning the environment. The foundations of the discounting procedures allow this rate to be none or negative depending on the circumstances in which the decision is taken. We show that it's possible to assume the existence of several discount rates depending on the nature of the project, indeed for the same project, what can answer to some objections against the proposal of a lower or a negative discount rate. From another part, as it's difficult to determine a monetary equivalent for the environmental goods, the discounting procedure applied to this kind of goods does not seem really pertinent. Nevertheless, because the choice of the social discount rate is more subject to subjective and political criteria than to economic one, a plurality of rates implies many difficulties of practical order. That's why it would be better to search alternative ways which have the same impacts than a decrease of the discount rate when environmental functions are concerned.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue française d'économie.

    Volume (Year): 8 (1993)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 111-147

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:rfreco:rfeco_0769-0479_1993_num_8_3_936
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rfeco.1993.936
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