Stranding ahoy? Heterogeneous transition beliefs and capital investment choices
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.
Citation: Cahen-Fourot L., Campligio E., Daumas L., Gregor Miess M., Yardley A. (2023) Stranding ahoy? Heterogeneous transition beliefs and capital investment choices, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization