Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1783729
 


 



Valuing the Future: Intergenerational Discounting, its Problems, and a Modest Proposal


Stephen Gary Marks


Boston University - School of Law

March 11, 2011

Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 11-12

Abstract:     
This article examine how intergenerational investment projects, such as, investments related to global warming, natural resources, energy, etc., should be undertaken. In particular, it examines two popular prescriptions: 1) In making intergenerational investments, policymakers should use a zero discount rate. 2) In making intergenerational investments, policymakers should use the market rate. The article shows that neither of these prescriptions are correct. Indeed, the article suggests that using present-value discounting at all is extremely problematic. Instead, the best we can probably do is to is to adopt a simple algorithm: set certain minimal goals for future generations: clean air, potable water, sufficient energy supplies, a nontoxic environment, etc., and then analyze the most cost-effective way of achieving those goals.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: intergenerational discounting, investment finance, global present value utilitarianism, social welfare

JEL Classification: D63, D90, Q38

working papers series





Download This Paper

Date posted: March 14, 2011 ; Last revised: April 22, 2011

Suggested Citation

Marks, Stephen Gary, Valuing the Future: Intergenerational Discounting, its Problems, and a Modest Proposal (March 11, 2011). Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 11-12. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1783729 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1783729

Contact Information

Stephen Gary Marks (Contact Author)
Boston University - School of Law ( email )
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 551
Downloads: 35

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.328 seconds