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The social discount rate in the evaluation of investment projects: an application for Ecuador

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The social discount rate in the evaluation of investment projects: an application for Ecuador

Author: Castillo, José Gabriel - Zhangallimbay, Donald Physical Description: p. 75-95 : grafs., tabls. Date: August 2021 ECLAC symbol: LC/PUB.2021/13-P

Description

The standard social discount rate of 12% applied by planning institutions and multilateral agencies when evaluating public projects is a constant administrative parameter that is unsupported and unresponsive to changes in social preferences over time. This paper presents an alternative way of determining the social discount
rate based on the gamma estimation model (Weitzman, 2001) in a developing-country context, which has three advantages: (i) it incorporates decreasing discounting, (ii) it is cost-efficient in that it sums up the various expert opinions and (iii) it adjusts for changes in short- and long-term preferences. Our estimates are lower than the
standard nominal rate for different time periods, ranging from 2% for evaluation horizons longer than 51 years to 11% for the short term (0–5 years).