Ben Groom is an applied economist whose main research focus is on intergenerational equity and social discounting for long-term public projects, such as those relating to climate change and biodiversity conservation. Ben also does empirical work and applied theory on agricultural development and adaptation to climate change, deforestation and biodiversity economics.


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. He has also advised governments in lower and middle income countries, such as 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

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 - 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 - 2018

Events - 2019

Events - 2017

Events - 2016

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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