Re: Market failure to sufficently weigh the future

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Thu Nov 02 2000 - 09:04:55 MST

Hal Finney wrote:
>Let me try to boil it down to just a couple of sentences, which
>summarize the argument I have been trying to make.
>Making changes to discount rates is motivated by satisfying people's
>preferences. However, making this change will have side effects.
>This could lead to people having fewer of their preferences satisfied.
>Does that make sense?

I don't think it makes sense to talk about side effects of changing
discount rates, because that isn't a specific policy which can have
such effects. You could talk about the side effects of changing
interest rates, or rates of taxation on capital, or subsidizing
education, etc. But social discount rates are just a feature of
social preferences - and preferences don't have side effects, actions

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:19 MDT