Time Horizon and the Discount Rate

23 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2000

See all articles by Christian Gollier

Christian Gollier

University of Toulouse 1 - Industrial Economic Institute (IDEI); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: November 1999

Abstract

We discuss the selection of the socially efficient discount rate for public investment projects that entail costs and benefits in the far distant future. We show that the discount rate should be a decreasing function of time horizon under some specific restrictions on the distribution of uncertain growth and on preferences. We consider a logarithmic random walk for consumption. The benchmark result is that, in the absence of any risk of recession, the yield curve is decreasing if relative risk aversion is decreasing. Relaxing the assumption on the absence of recession requires more restrictions on preferences, as increasing relative prudence.

JEL Classification: D81, D91, Q25, Q28

Suggested Citation

Gollier, Christian, Time Horizon and the Discount Rate (November 1999). FEEM Working Paper No. 88.99. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=200150 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.200150

Christian Gollier (Contact Author)

University of Toulouse 1 - Industrial Economic Institute (IDEI) ( email )

Manufacture des Tabacs
21 Allee de Brienne bat. F
Toulouse Cedex, F-31000
France
+33 61 12 86 30 (Phone)
+33 61 12 86 37 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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