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Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 87–94 | Cite as

A note on uncertainty and discounting in models of economic growth

  • Kenneth J. ArrowEmail author
Article

Abstract

The implications of uncertainty for appropriate discounting in models of economic growth have been studied at some length, notably, (Review of Economic Studies, 36:153–163; 1969) and (Journal of Public Economics, 85:149–166; 2002). A detailed account has now appeared in Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 37:141–169; 2008, sections 4 and 5 (pp. 160–166). One interesting, if perhaps minor, aspect is that under certain circumstances, there appeared to be no solution or at least no satisfactory one. More importantly, the formulas are usually given for the log normal case and are somewhat complicated and hard to interpret intuitively. I show here that assuming a general distribution for returns to capital gives simpler and more understandable results.

Keywords

Uncertainty Discount rate Intertemporal optimization Relative risk aversion 

JEL

C61 D9 H43 O41 

Notes

Acknowledgment

Preparation of this study was made possible by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. I am indebted for many discussions with Partha Dasgupta on the role of uncertainty in climate change problems.

References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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