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Global Warming and Hyperbolic Discounting

  • Karp, Larry

The use of a constant discount rate to study long-lived environmental problems such as global warming has two disadvantages: the prescribed policy is sensitive to the discount rate, and with moderate discount rates, large future damages have almost no effect on current decisions. Time-consistent quasi-hyperbolic discounting alleviates both of these modeling problems, and is a plausible description of how people think about the future. We analyze the time-consistent Markov Perfect equilibrium in a general model with a stock pollutant. The solution to the linear-quadratic specialization illustrates the role of hyperbolic discounting in a model of global warming.

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Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt5zh730nc.

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Date of creation: 09 Jul 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt5zh730nc
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  1. Read, Daniel, 2001. " Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
  2. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1989. "Sustainable plans and mutual default," Staff Report 124, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  5. Karp, Larry, 2004. "Non-Constant Discounting in Continuous Time," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt7pr05084, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
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  8. Heal, Geoffrey, 2005. "Intertemporal Welfare Economics and the Environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1105-1145 Elsevier.
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  13. 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.
  14. Martin L. Weitzman, 2001. "Gamma Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 260-271, March.
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  17. Robert A. Driskill, 2002. "A Proposal for a Selection Criterion in a Class of Dynamic Rational Expectations Models with Multiple Equilibria," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0210, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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