The method by which the real social discount rate has been estimated for Canada is reviewed. Some of the assumptions which were used to obtain the current rate of 8 - 10% are criticized. In particular, it is shown that the real marginal and average rates of return on investment are not equal. A method of estimating the real marginal rate on return on investment is found. This method and other information is used to revise the estimate of the real social discount rate to 3 - 7%. It is proposed that where possible expected net present values should be used to screen public investments in silviculture. An argument is made that the benefits and costs of such investments should not be adjusted for risk. The risk free social discount rate should be used for expected net present value calculations. Historically, this rate has ranged between 3 and 5%.
FRDA Research Report 071 (2891 KB)
To view this document you need the current version of
Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free from the
Adobe Web Site.
Updated July 24, 2015