Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 141–148 | Cite as

Once More on Intergenerational Discounting in Climate-Change Analysis: Reply to Partha Dasgupta

  • John E. Roemer


Discounting the utilities of future generations in many problems, such as climate-change analysis, has several justifications, only one of which can be supported by ethics which postulate that every individual, no matter when born, has an equal right to well-being. That justification is that future generations may not exist. In an earlier article published here, I explained this view, and criticized economists who deviate from it: the practical aspect of this deviation is to choose discount rates which are far too high, thus relegating future generations to lower utility than they a priori have a right to. As well, many economists continue to rely upon a utilitarian ethic, a reliance which is independent of the discounting issue, but which I also criticize. Dasgupta responded to my article; the present article is a response to Dasgupta.


Discounting Climate-change Utilitarianism Sustainability  Intergenerational ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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