IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Why uncertainty matters - discounting under intertemporal risk aversion and ambiguity

  • Traeger, Christian P

    ()

    (University of California, Berkeley. Dept of agricultural and resource economics)

Uncertainty has an almost negligible impact on project value in the economicstandard model. I show that a comprehensive evaluation of uncertainty and uncertainty attitude changes this picture fundamentally. The analysis relies on the discount rate, which is the crucial determinant in balancing immediate costs against future benefits and the single most important determinant of optimal mitigation policies in the integrated assessment of climate change. The paper examines two shortcomings in the recent debate and the current models addressing climate change assessment. First, removing an implicit assumption of (intertemporal) risk neutrality reduces the growth effect in social discounting and significantly amplifies the importance of risk and correlation. Second, debate and models largely overlook the difference in attitude with respect to risk and with respect to non-risk uncertainty. The paper derives the resulting changes of the risk-free and the stochastic social discount rate and points out the importance of even thin tailed uncertainty for climate change evaluation. It discusses combinations ofuncertainty and correlation that reduce the social discount rate to pure preference. In a theoretical contribution, the paper extends the smooth ambiguity model by providing a threefold disentanglement between, risk aversion, ambiguity aversion, and the propensityto smooth consumption over time.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/2w614303
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy in its series CUDARE Working Paper Series with number 1092R2.

as
in new window

Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:are:cudare:1092r2
Contact details of provider: Postal: 207 Giannini Hall #3310, Berkeley, CA 94720-3310
Phone: (510) 642-3345
Fax: (510) 643-8911
Web page: http://areweb.berkeley.edu/library/Main/CUDARE

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: University of California, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics Library, 248 Giannini Hall #3310, Berkeley CA 94720-3310
Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Armon Rezai & Duncan Foley & Lance Taylor, 2012. "Global warming and economic externalities," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 329-351, February.
  2. Luc LAUWERS, 2010. "Intergenerational equity, efficiency and constructability," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces10.22, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  3. Hoel, Michael & Karp, Larry, 2000. "Taxes and Quotas for a Stock Pollutant with Multiplicative Uncertainty," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9v86p5s7, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  4. Karp, Larry, 2004. "Global Warming and Hyperbolic Discounting," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5zh730nc, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  5. Michel Normandin & Pascal St-Amour, 1996. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, Taste Shocks and Equity Premia," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 39, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  6. Kelly, David L. & Kolstad, Charles D., 1999. "Malthus and Climate Change: Betting on a Stable Population," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt9ks625sk, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  7. Weitzman, Martin L., 1998. "Why the Far-Distant Future Should Be Discounted at Its Lowest Possible Rate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 201-208, November.
  8. Keller, Klaus & Bolker, Benjamin M. & Bradford, D.F.David F., 2004. "Uncertain climate thresholds and optimal economic growth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 723-741, July.
  9. William D. Nordhaus, 2012. "Economic Policy in the Face of Severe Tail Events," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(2), pages 197-219, 03.
  10. Asheim, Geir B. & Mitra, Tapan & Tungodden, Bertil, 2006. "Sustainable recursive social welfare functions," Memorandum 18/2006, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  11. John Y. Campbell, 1993. "Understanding Risk and Return," NBER Working Papers 4554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert S. Pindyck, 2009. "Uncertain Outcomes and Climate Change Policy," NBER Working Papers 15259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Weitzman, Martin L., 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," Scholarly Articles 3693423, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Plambeck, Erica L. & Hope, Chris & Anderson, John, 1997. "The model: Integrating the science and economics of global warming," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 77-101, March.
  15. Weitzman, Martin L., 2009. "Additive Damages, Fat-Tailed Climate Dynamics, and Uncertain Discounting," Scholarly Articles 9639963, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 42-71, March.
  17. Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo & Rustichini, Aldo, 2006. "Dynamic variational preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 4-44, May.
  18. Garth Heutel, 2012. "How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 244-264, April.
  19. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, 08.
  20. Christian Traeger, 2012. "Once Upon a Time Preference - How Rationality and Risk Aversion Change the Rationale for Discounting," CESifo Working Paper Series 3793, CESifo Group Munich.
  21. Karp, Larry & Zhang, Jiangfeng, 2008. "Taxes Versus Quantities for a Stock Pollutant with Endogenous Abatement Costs and Asymmetric Information," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt84q0s8tb, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  22. Azfar, Omar, 1999. "Rationalizing hyperbolic discounting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 245-252, February.
  23. Kelly, David L., 2005. "Price and quantity regulation in general equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 36-60, November.
  24. Weil, Philippe, 1990. "Nonexpected Utility in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 29-42, February.
  25. Ju, Nengjiu & Miao, Jianjun, 2009. "Ambiguity, Learning, and Asset Returns," MPRA Paper 14737, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Apr 2009.
  26. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
  27. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
  28. Robert S. Pindyck, 2010. "Modeling the Impact of Warming in Climate Change Economics," NBER Working Papers 15692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Charles Figuières & Mabel Tidball, 2006. "Sustainable exploitation of a natural resource: a satisfying use of Chichilnisky's criterion," Working Papers 06-03, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Sep 2006.
  30. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Discounting an uncertain future," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 149-166, August.
  31. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Regulating stock externalities under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 416-432, March.
  32. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
  33. Hoel, Michael & Karp, Larry, 2001. "Taxes versus Quotas for a Stock Pollutant," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5fx9p7kf, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  34. William D. Nordhaus, 2011. "Estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon: Background and Results from the RICE-2011 Model," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1826, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  35. Millner, Antony, 2013. "On welfare frameworks and catastrophic climate risks," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 310-325.
  36. Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo & Mukerji, Sujoy, 2009. "Recursive smooth ambiguity preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 930-976, May.
  37. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1974. "Risk aversion with many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-388, July.
  38. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
  39. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2008. "Climate Change and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century," NBER Working Papers 14132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Geoffrey Heal, 2009. "Climate Economics: A Meta-Review and Some Suggestions for Future Research," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 4-21, Winter.
  41. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
  42. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  43. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  44. Karp, Larry & Zhang, Jiangfeng, 2006. "Regulation with anticipated learning about environmental damages," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 259-279, May.
  45. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2012. "Temperature Shocks and Economic Growth: Evidence from the Last Half Century," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 66-95, July.
  46. Ravi Bansal & Dana Kiku & Amir Yaron, 2010. "Long Run Risks, the Macroeconomy, and Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 542-46, May.
  47. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  48. Graciela Chichilnisky, 2012. "Economic theory and the global environment," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 217-225, February.
  49. Traeger, Christian P., 2010. "Intertemporal risk aversion – or – wouldn’t it be nice to tell whether Robinson Crusoe is risk averse?," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1102, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:are:cudare:1092r2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jeff Cole)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Jeff Cole to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.