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Published July 2018 | Published
Journal Article Open

On Multiple Discount Rates


We study the problem of resolving conflicting discount rates via a social choice approach. We introduce several axioms, seeking to capture the tension between allowing for intergenerational comparisons of utility, and imposing intergenerational fairness. Depending on which axioms are judged appropriate, we are led to one of several conclusions: a utilitarian, maxmin, or a multi‚Äźutilitarian rule, whereby a utility stream is judged by the worst in a set of utilitarian weighting schemes across discount rates.

Additional Information

© 2018 The Econometric Society. We are grateful to Luke Boosey, Simone Cerreia-Vioglio, Vijay Krishna, Michele Le Breton, Efe Ok, Phil Reny, Itai Sher, Tomasz Strzalecki, and participants of numerous seminars and conferences where we have presented the paper, for comments. We wish to especially thank the co-editor and three anonymous referees for suggestions that greatly improved the paper. Finally, Echenique thanks the National Science Foundation for its support through Grants SES 1558757 and CNS 1518941.

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