Very Long-Run Discount Rates

48 Pages Posted: 19 May 2014 Last revised: 4 Jan 2021

See all articles by Stefano Giglio

Stefano Giglio

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Matteo Maggiori

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Johannes Stroebel

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

We provide direct estimates of how agents trade off immediate costs and uncertain future benefits that occur in the very long run, 100 or more years away. We exploit a unique feature of housing markets in the U.K. and Singapore, where residential property ownership takes the form of either leaseholds or freeholds. Leaseholds are temporary, pre-paid, and tradable ownership contracts with maturities between 99 and 999 years, while freeholds are perpetual ownership contracts. The difference between leasehold and freehold prices reflects the present value of perpetual rental income starting at leasehold expiry, and is thus informative about very long-run discount rates. We estimate the price discounts for varying leasehold maturities compared to freeholds and extremely long-run leaseholds via hedonic regressions using proprietary datasets of the universe of transactions in each country. Agents discount very long-run cash flows at low rates, assigning high present values to cash flows hundreds of years in the future. For example, 100-year leaseholds are valued at more than 10% less than otherwise identical freeholds, implying discount rates below 2.6% for 100-year claims. Given the riskiness of rents, this suggests that both long-run risk-free discount rates and long-run risk premia are low. We show how the estimated very long-run discount rates are informative for climate change policy.

Suggested Citation

Giglio, Stefano and Maggiori, Matteo and Stroebel, Johannes, Very Long-Run Discount Rates (May 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20133, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2438554

Stefano Giglio (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Matteo Maggiori

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Johannes Stroebel

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

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Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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