Discounting and Intergenerational Equity

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $80.37
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 10%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $80.37   
  • New (4) from $80.37   
  • Used (3) from $120.49   


The full effects of decisions made today about many environmental policies -including climate change and nuclear waste- will not be felt for many years. For issues with long-term ramifications, analysts often employ discount rates to compare present and future costs and benefits. This is reasonable, and discounting has become a procedure that raises few objections. But are the methods appropriate for measuring costs and benefits for decisions that will have impacts 20 to 30 years from now the right ones to employ for a future that lies 200 to 300 years in the future? This landmark book argues that methods reasonable for measuring gains and losses for a generation into the future may not be appropriate when applied to a longer span of time. Paul Portney and John Weyant have assembled some of the world's foremost economists to reconsider the purpose, ethical implications, and application of discounting in light of recent research and current policy concerns. These experts note reasons why conventional calculations involved in discounting are undermined when considering costs and benefits in the distant future, including uncertainty about the values and preferences of future generations, and uncertainties about available technologies. Rather than simply disassemble current methodologies, the contributors examine innovations that will make discounting a more compelling tool for policy choices that influence the distant future. They discuss the combination of a high shout-term with a low long-term diescount rate, explore discounting according to more than one set of anticipated preferences for the future, and outline alternatives involving simultaneous consideration of valuation, discounting and political acceptability.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Twenty mainstream economists tackle the deep and difficult problem of how to compare and evaluate environmental policies, including climate change and nuclear waste, whose effects can be expected to stretch out over centuries or more and many generations. They particularly look at the danger of employing the discount rates that are reflexively used in the field to summarize and evaluate cost and benefits over time. They assume some knowledge of economics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780915707898
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 5/3/1999
  • Series: Resources for the Future Series
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 0.63 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul R. Portney is president and a senior fellow of Resources for the Future.

John P. Weyant is director of the Energy Modeling Forum at Stanford University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Robert M. Solow
1. Introduction
Paul R. Portney and John P. Weyant
2. Discounting, Morality, and Gaming
Kenneth J. Arrow
3. 'Just Keep Discounting, But...'
Martin L. Weitzman
4. Reconciling Philosophy and Economics in Long-Term Discounting: Comments on Arrow and Weitzman
Michael A. Toman
5. On the Uses of Benefit-Cost Reasoning in Choosing Policy toward Global Climate Change
David F. Bradford
6. A Market-Based Discount Rate: Comments on Bradford
W. David Montgomery
7. Intergenerational Equity, Social Discount Rates, and Global Warming
Partha Dasgupta, Karl-G�ran M�ler, and Scott Barrett
8. Substitution and Social Discount Rates: Comments on Dasgupta, M�ler, and Barrett
V. Kerry Smith
9. Mock Referenda for Intergenerational Decisionmaking
Raymond J. Kopp and Paul R. Portney
10. Intergenerational Discounting
Thomas C. Schelling
11. Intergenerational Ethics, Efficiency, and Commitment: Comments on Schelling and Kopp and Portney
Jerome Rothenberg
12. Equity, Efficiency, and Discounting
Alan S. Manne
13. Discounting for the Very Long Term
William R. Cline
14. Models and Discount Rates: Comments on Manne and Cline
Shantayanan Devarajan
15. Discounting and Public Policies That Affect the Distant Future
William D. Nordhaus
16. The Implications of Hyperbolic Discounting for Project Evaluation
Maureen Cropper and David Laibson
17. Analysis for Intergenerational Decisionmaking
Robert C. Lind
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)