Hyperbolic Discounting and Resource Collapse
This paper shows that the use of hyperbolic discounting in environmental regulation can have unfortunate consequences. In a three-period model we demonstrate that a planner who `naively` employs hyperbolic discounting and fails to anticipate problems of dynamic inconsistency, can oversee a collapse of a renewable resource. If the regeneration rate of the resource is within a given range, and stock levels are close to the `minimum viable population`, then an unforeseen collapse will result. This basic result is shown to hold in an infinite-horizon, continuous-time model with hyperbolic discounting of the sort examined in Barro (1999) and Li and Lofgren (2001). Here, the naive planner does not anticipate extinction of its resource stock because it always plans to lower consumption (but it never does). Two conclusions follow from these results. First, the model provides an explanation for resource collapses such as that of the Peruvian anchovy and Atlantic cod. Second, governments should think carefully before they employ hyperbolic discounting in policymaking.
|Date of creation:||01 May 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Benabou, R. & Tirole, J., 2001.
"Willpower and Personal Rules,"
216, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303, November.
- Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999.
"Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
- Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
- Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
- Chichilnisky, G., 1994. "Sustainable Development and Social Choice," Papers 94-02, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
- David Pearce & Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri, 2003. "Valuing the Future," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(2), pages 121-141, April.
- David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
- Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Ramsey Meets Laibson In The Neoclassical Growth Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1125-1152, November.
- Dieter BrÃ¤uninger, 2003. "Demographics and Pension Reforms in the Major Central and Eastern European Countries," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(1), pages 117-132, January.
- Cropper, Maureen & Laibson, David, 1998. "The implications of hyperbolic discounting for project evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1943, The World Bank.
- Loewenstein, George, 1996. "Out of Control: Visceral Influences on Behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 272-292, March.
- Read, Daniel, 2001. " Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
- Barrett, Scott, 1990. "The Problem of Global Environmental Protection," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 68-79, Spring.
- Li, Chuan-Zhong & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2000. "Renewable Resources and Economic Sustainability: A Dynamic Analysis with Heterogeneous Time Preferences," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 236-250, November.
- Rubinstein, Ariel, 2001. "A theorist's view of experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 615-628, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:159. 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: (Monica Birds)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.