Discounting the Long-Distant Future: A Simple Explanation for the Weitzman-Gollier-Puzzle
In this paper, we reconsider the debate on Weitzman's (1998) suggestion to discount the long-run future at the lowest possible rate, referring to Gollier (2004) and Hepburn & Groom (2007). We show that, while Weitzman's use of the present value approach may indeed seem questionable, its outcome, i.e. a discount rate that is declining over time, is nevertheless reasonable, since it can be justified by assuming a plausible degree of risk aversion.
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- Hepburn, Cameron & Groom, Ben, 2007. "Gamma discounting and expected net future value," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-109, January.
- David J. Evans, 2005. "The elasticity of marginal utility of consumption: estimates for 20 OECD countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(2), pages 197-224, June.
- Jan Schumacher & Wolfgang Buchholz, 2008. "Discounting and Welfare Analysis Over Time: Choosing the Ã§," CESifo Working Paper Series 2230, CESifo Group Munich.
- 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.