Ben is currently the Dragon Capital Chair in Biodiversity Economics at the Department of Economics, University of Exeter. Between 2012 and 2020 Ben was a Professor of Environment and Development Economics at the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Ben studied a BSc in Economics at Sheffield University, an MSC in Environmental and Resource Economics at UCL, and completed his PhD in Economics at UCL in 2005 on the topic of empirical and theoretical aspects of social discounting for distant time horizons.


Ben has a professional background working in environmental and development economics, having spent 2 years as an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) fellow between 1998 and 2000. Since then his work on social discounting has informed government policy guidance in the US, UK, Norway and the Netherlands, inter alia, and also OECD guidance on Cost Benefit Analysis for transport projects. Ben acted as a consultant for numerous international organisations, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the OECD and the WWF. Recent work has contributed to the United Nations International Seabed Authority on valuing and fair rent sharing of rents from sub-seabed assets, and the Office of National Statistics on social discounting for Natural Capital Valuation. He has also advised the of China, Pakistan and Bolivia, on various aspects of environmental policy. Ben is chair of the scientific committee of the BIOECON network and co-organiser of the annual BIOECON conference.

Research interests

  • Social discounting and intergenerational equity
  • Agricultural economics, adaptation to climate change and the role of new varieties and crop genetic diversity,
  • The economics of biodiversity

Non-Grantham Research Institute published works

Haensel M, Drupp M, Nesje F, Johansson D, Azar C, Freeman M.C., Groom B and Sterner T (2020). Climate economics support for the UN climate targets. Nature Climate Change, vol 10, pp 781-789. https://rdcu.be/b5AAl

Cavatorta E and Groom B (2020). Do deterrent policies change preferences? Evidence from a Natural Experiment. European Economic Review, 127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103456

Groom B and Maddison D J (2019). ‘New Estimates of the Elasticity of Marginal Utility for the UK’. Environmental and Resource Economics, vol. 72, issue 4, 1155-1182 Groom and Maddison (2019).

Drupp M, Freeman M C, Groom B and Nesje F (2018). `Discounting Disentangled: An Expert Survey on the Components of the Long Term Social Discount Rate. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 10 (4): 109-34. DOI: 10.1257/pol.20160240

Gorst A, Groom B and Dehlavi A (2018). ‘Crop productivity and adaptation to climate change in Pakistan’. Environment and Development Economics, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355770X18000232.

Atkinson G, Groom B, Hanley N and Mourato S (2018). ‘Environmental valuation and Benefit-Cost Analysis in UK Policy’. Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis, 9(1), pp 97-119. Atkinson et al., (2018)

Emmerling J, Groom B and Wettingfeld T (2017). Discounting and the Representative Median Agent. Economics Letters, 161, pp78-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2017.09.031

Groom B and Hepburn C (2017). ‘Looking back at Social Discount Rates: The Influence of Papers, Presentations and Personalities on Policy’. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 11(2), pp 336–356.

Freeman M C, Groom B and Zeckhauser R (2015). ‘Better Signals, Better Allocations: Scientific Advances and Adaptation to Climate Change’. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Volume 373, Issue 2055. PTRANSA

Freeman M C, Groom B, Panipoulou K and Pantelides T (2015). ‘Declining Discount Rates and the Fisher Effect: Inflated Past, Discounted Future’. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 73, pp.32-49.

Freeman M C and Groom B (2015). ‘Positively Gamma Discounting: Combining the Opinions of Experts on the Social Discount Rate’. The Economic Journal. Volume 125, Issue 585, pp. 1015–1024, F&G (2015)Media summary from Royal Economic Society.

Cropper M L, Freeman M C, Groom B and Pizer W (2014). ‘Declining Discount Rates’. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 104(5): pp. 538-43.

Groom B and Tak M (2015). ‘Welfare Analysis of Changing Food Prices: A Nonparametric Examination of Rice Policies in India’. Food Security, 7(1), pp. 121-141 Groom and Tak (2015)

Arrow, Kenneth J., Maureen L. Cropper, Christian Gollier, Ben Groom, Geoffrey M. Heal, Richard G. Newell, William D. Nordhaus, Robert S. Pindyck,William A. Pizer, Paul R. Portney, Thomas Sterner, Richard S. J. Tol and Martin L. Weitzman (2014). ‘How Should Benefits and Costs be Discounted in an Intergenerational Context?’  Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 8(2) pp. 145-163. Arrow et al (2014)Editor’s Choice.

Freeman M C and Groom B (2014). ‘Using Equity Premium Survey Data to Estimate Future Wealth’. Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting,45(4), pp. 665-693. Freeman and Groom 2014 RQFA

Groom B and Palmer C (2014). ‘Relaxing Constraints as a Conservation Policy’, Environment and Development Economics. 19(4) , pp 505-528, Groom and Palmer (2014),

Arrow, Kenneth J., Maureen L. Cropper, Christian Gollier, Ben Groom, Geoffrey M. Heal, Richard G. Newell, William D. Nordhaus, Robert S. Pindyck, William A. Pizer, Paul R. Portney, Thomas Sterner, Richard S. J. Tol and Martin L. Weitzman (2013). ‘Determining Benefits and Costs for Future Generations’. Science, 341 (6144). pp. 349-350.

Freeman M C and Groom B (2013). ‘Biodiversity and the Discounting Problem’. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, 26(5), pp. 715-745,Freeman and Groom (2013).

Swanson T and Groom B (2012). ‘Regulating Global Biodiversity: What’s the problem?’, Oxford Review Economic Policy 28(1): pp. 114-138,DOI:10.1093/oxrep/grs003

Groom B and Palmer C (2012). ‘REDD+ and Rural Livelihoods.’ Biological Conservation, 154, pp. 42-52 Groom and Palmer (2012).

Gatti J.R.J, Goeschl T, Groom B and Swanson T (2011). ‘The Biodiversity Bargaining Problem’. Environmental and Resource Economics, 48(4), pp. 609-630.

Groom B and Palmer C (2010). Cost Effective Provision of Environmental Services: The Importance of Market Constraints. Environment and Development Economics, 15(2), pp. 219-240.

Groom B, Grosjean P, Kontoleon A, Swanson T and Zhang S (2010). ‘Relaxing Constraints with Compensation: A win-win policy for poverty and environment in China?’. Oxford Economics Papers, 62(1), pp. 132-156.

Groom B, Koundouri P, Nauges C and Thomas A (2008). ‘The Story of the Moment: Risk Averse Cypriot Farmers respond to Drought Management’. Applied Economics, 40, pp. 315–326.

Hepburn C and Groom B (2007). ‘Gamma Discounting and Expected Net Future Value’. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 53(1), pp. 99-109.

Groom B, Koundouri P, Panipoulou K and Pantelides T (2007). ‘Declining Discount Rates: How much does model selection affect the certainty equivalent discount rate?’ Journal of Applied Econometrics, 22(3), pp. 641-656.

Groom B, Kontoleon A, Swanson T (2007). ‘Valuing Complex Goods: Or, can you get anything out of experts other than a decision?’. Research in Law and Economics, 23, pp. 301-331.

Groom B, Hepburn C, Koundouri P and Pearce D (2005).  ‘Declining Discount Rates: the long and the short of it’. Environmental and Resource Economics, 32(4), pp. 445-493.


Research - 2023

The authors of this paper develop a method to establish the value of temporary offset projects with a given risk of failure and show that this value is always positive. They find that to compensate for one tonne of fossil fuel emissions, 2 to 3 tonnes of carbon need to be stored in a forest if the project stops being additional after 50 years. Read more

Research - 2021

Research - 2020

In this paper the authors show that if society is averse to income inequality, a government that is concerned with societal wellbeing would choose paths of economic growth that focus not only on the size of the overall ‘pie’ but also on how the pie is shared. Read more

Research - 2019

The authors of this paper show theoretically that lack of credibility introduces a present bias, as subjects internalise the uncertainty. Hence, experiments that do not ensure credibility may erroneously conclude that observed behaviour is driven by hyperbolic pure time preferences, rather than the rational response to non-credible payoffs. Read more

Research - 2018

Research - 2017

Research - 2016

Research - 2015

Research - 2014

Research - 2013


Policy - 2023

Policy - 2018


Events - 2019

Events - 2017

Events - 2016


News - 2022

News - 2020

A new paper published in Nature Climate Change shows that despite appearances to the contrary, the Nobel Prize-winning DICE ‘climate and economy’ model and the UN’s climate targets are in fact pulling in the same direction. Read more

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