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The Social Discount Rate

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  • Andrew Caplin
  • John Leahy

Abstract

In welfare theory it is standard to pick the consumption stream that maximizes the welfare of the representative agent. We argue against this position, and show that a benevolent social planner will generally place a greater weight on future consumption than does the representative agent. Our analysis has immediate implications for public policy: agents discount the future too much and the government should promote future oriented policies.
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Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004. "The Social Discount Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1257-1268, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:6:p:1257-1268
    DOI: 10.1086/424740
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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