Cookies?
Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Siblings, not triplets: social preferences for risk, inequality and time in discounting climate change

Sælen, Håkon , Dietz, Simon, Hepburn, Cameron, Helgeson, Jennifer and Atkinson, Giles (2009) Siblings, not triplets: social preferences for risk, inequality and time in discounting climate change. Economics - the Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 20 (3). pp. 1-28. ISSN 1864-6042

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

Arguments about the appropriate discount rate often start by assuming a Utilitarian social welfare function with isoelastic utility, in which the consumption discount rate is a function of the (constant) elasticity of marginal utility along with the (much discussed) utility discount rate. In this model, the elasticity of marginal utility simultaneously reflects preferences for intertemporal substitution, aversion to risk, and aversion to (spatial) inequality. While these three concepts are necessarily identical in the standard model, this need not be so: well-known models already enable risk to be separated from intertemporal substitution. Separating the three concepts might have important implications for the appropriate discount rate, and hence also for long-term policy. This paper investigates these issues in the context of climate-change economics, by surveying the attitudes of over 3000 people to risk, income inequality over space and income inequality over time. The results suggest that individuals do not see the three concepts as identical, and indeed that preferences over risk, inequality and time are only weakly correlated. As such, relying on empirical evidence of risk or inequality preferences may not necessarily be an appropriate guide to specifying the elasticity of intertemporal substitution.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.economics-ejournal.org/
Additional Information: © 2009 The Authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C9 - Design of Experiments > C90 - General
D - Microeconomics > D0 - General > D01 - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q51 - Valuation of Environmental Effects
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Research centres and groups > Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2011 15:52
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/31922/

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only