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Climate Policies Deserve a Negative Discount Rate

Listed author(s):
  • Marc Fleurbaey

    ()

    (Woodrow Wilson School and Center for Human Values - Princeton University [Pinceton])

  • Stéphane Zuber

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

We defend a methodology of discounting, for the evaluation of the long-term effects of climate policies, which relies on a social welfare objective, against the view that the market rate of return should be used for that purpose. We also show that in the long run, the discount rate for such policies should focus on the worst-case scenario for the most disadvantaged populations. As a consequence, it is likely that the appropriate discount rate for climate policies should be negative, implying a high priority for the future.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number hal-01048583.

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Length:
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Publication status: Published in Chicago Journal of International Law, The University of Chicago Law School, 2013, 13 (2), pp.565-595
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-01048583
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01048583
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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  1. Marc Fleurbaey, 2010. "Assessing Risky Social Situations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 649-680, 08.
  2. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Discounting an uncertain future," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 149-166, August.
  3. Schelling, Thomas C, 1995. "Intergenerational discounting," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 395-401.
  4. Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
  5. 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.
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