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Deciding with long-term environmental impacts: what role for discounting?

  • Schilizzi, Steven
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    The problem of how to discount values in the far future is reviewed, and shown to lead down a blind alley. An alternative is proposed that allows long term consequences to be addressed by decisions using a relatively short term time horizon. A simple model investigating the optimal containment of radioactive waste in a deterministic world is used to show that current generations can indeed cater for the interests of the far future while optimising over the short term; however, this is not always possible. The proposed method seems to address most of the critiques of long term discounting found in the literature.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/58206
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    Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia with number 58206.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aare03:58206
    Contact details of provider: Postal: AARES Central Office Manager, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, Canberra ACT 0200
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    1. Rubinstein, A., 2000. "Is it "Economics and Psychology"?: the Case of Hyperbolic Discounting," Papers 2000-21, Tel Aviv.
    2. Cropper, Maureen & Laibson, David, 1998. "The implications of hyperbolic discounting for project evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1943, The World Bank.
    3. John Hartwick, 1976. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers 220, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    4. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    5. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-58, August.
    6. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1995. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," MPRA Paper 8609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
    8. Geir B. Asheim, 1996. "Ethical preferences in the presence of resource constraints," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 23, pages 55-67.
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