Data & Code for: Non-dogmatic Social Discounting

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Millner, Antony (University of California-Santa Barbara)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
Social discount rate; normative uncertainty; interdependence; cost-benefit analysis
  • Abstract

    This repository contains the Matlab code and data used to plot the figures in "Non-dogmatic social discounting". There are three files:

    a) “Drupp_data.xlsx” — data provided by the authors of Drupp et. al. (2018). The original paper contains a code book, available at

    b) "deltaeta_data.mat" -- a Matlab data file containing the surveyed values of "delta" (pure rate of social time preference) and "eta" (elasticity of marginal utility), reported in the Excel file above.

    c) "NDSD.m" -- a Matlab script that plots the figures displayed in the paper, and the online appendix. (Depends on deltaeta_data.mat)

    To replicate the figures, place “NDSD.m” and “deltaeta_data.mat” in the same folder, and execute NDSD.m from the Matlab command line.

    The paper's abstract is as follows:

    The long-run social discount rate has an enormous effect on the value of climate mitigation, infrastructure projects, and other long-term public policies. Its value is however highly contested, in part because of normative disagreements about social time preferences. I develop a theory of `non-dogmatic' social planners, who are insecure in their current normative judgments and entertain the possibility that they may change. Although each non-dogmatic planner advocates an idiosyncratic theory of intertemporal social welfare, all such planners agree on the long-run social discount rate. Non-dogmatism thus goes some way towards resolving normative disagreements, especially for long-term public projects.
  • Is supplement to
    DOI: 10.1257/aer.20161007 (Text)
  • Millner, Antony. “Non-Dogmatic Social Discounting.” American Economic Review 110, no. 3 (March 2020): 760–75.
    • ID: 10.1257/aer.20161007 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2020-05-18 | Issue Number: 2 | Registration Date: 2020-02-25