Stranding ahoy? Heterogeneous transition beliefs and capital investment choices

Louison Cahen-Fourot, Emanuele Campiglio, Louis Daumas*, Michael Gregor Miess, Andrew Yardley

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Individuals have heterogeneous beliefs regarding the future speed and shape of the low-carbon transition. In this paper, we study to what extent opinion diversity matters for aggregate capital investment decisions. We develop a model where firms formulate heterogeneous expectations around a dominant narrative, or ‘market norm’, with their dispersion increasing over a finite planning horizon. Our analytical and numerical results suggest that belief heterogeneity can significantly affect the share of low-carbon investments, with the strength of its effects non-linearly correlated to market norms. We show that investment behaviour tends to be more sensitive to shocks to short-term, rather than long-term, belief heterogeneity, highlighting the importance of setting credible short-term targets. Finally, we find beliefs to interact strongly and in non-trivial ways with measures of short-termism, with increasing agents' farsightedness not necessarily leading to less carbon-intensive investments under high heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-567
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume216
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

Keywords

  • Asset stranding
  • Beliefs
  • Heterogeneous expectations
  • Investment choices
  • Low-carbon transition
  • Short-termism

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