Discounting is a perennial problem for economists; it is an essential component of assessing economic comparisons over time, but a number of practical and theoretical difficulties continue to confront its use. This is especially so for economists concerned with long time horizons, such as climate change or the management of the environment and natural resources. Discounting is perhaps the area of economics that generates the most disquiet and confusion from outside the discipline.
Economics and the Future tackles the discounting issue from a number of angles, ranging from relatively short-term private financial decisions, to very long-term public issues spanning generations. The authors present differing perspectives and original ideas in a style that remains accessible while addressing some of the more difficult questions about discounting in theory and practice. It reveals that the economic issues regarding time are embedded in a broader social, ethical and philosophical context.
This book explores practical and theoretical concerns in making economic comparisons over time, and presents innovative proposals for resolving some of the problems raised. As such, it will be of great interest to a wide-ranging audience including: academics and students focusing on economics, economic consultants, analysts and policy advisors and environmental organizations.