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The social discount rate : estimates for nine Latin American countries

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  • Lopez, Humberto

Abstract

The social discount rate measures the rate at which a society would be willing to trade present for future consumption. As such it is one of the most critical inputs needed for cost-benefit analysis. This paper presents estimates of the social discount rates for nine Latin American countries. It is argued that if the recent track record in terms of growth in the region is indicative of future performance, estimates of the social discount rate would be in the 3-4 percent range. However, to the extent that the region improves on its past performance, the social discount rate to be used in the evaluation of projects would increase to the 5-7 percent range. The paper also argues that if the social planner gives a similar chance to the low and high growth scenario, the discount rate should be dependent on the horizon of the project, declining from 4.4 percent for a 25-year horizon to less than 4 percent for a 100-year horizon.

Suggested Citation

  • Lopez, Humberto, 2008. "The social discount rate : estimates for nine Latin American countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4639, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4639
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    7. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kergna, Alpha & Smale, Melinda & Assima, Amidou & Weltzien, Eva & Rattunde, Fred, 2016. "The potential economic impact of guinea-race sorghum hybrids in Mali: Comparing research paradigms," 2016 AAAE Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246964, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    2. Ferda Halicioglu & Cevat Karatas, 2013. "A social discount rate for Turkey," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 1085-1091, February.
    3. Thomopoulos, N. & Grant-Muller, S. & Tight, M.R., 2009. "Incorporating equity considerations in transport infrastructure evaluation: Current practice and a proposed methodology," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 351-359, November.
    4. Abdullah, Sabah & Jeanty, P. Wilner, 2011. "Willingness to pay for renewable energy: Evidence from a contingent valuation survey in Kenya," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 2974-2983, August.
    5. Mareike Schad & Jürgen John, 2012. "Towards a social discount rate for the economic evaluation of health technologies in Germany: an exploratory analysis," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(2), pages 127-144, April.

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    Keywords

    Debt Markets; Economic Theory&Research; Inequality; Achieving Shared Growth;

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