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The role of formal capital budgeting analysis in corporate investment decision-making: a literature review

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Published in eceee 2009 Summer Study. La Colle sur Loup (France) - June - . 2009, p. 1.177;237-245
Abstract According to mainstream energy economics, energy-efficiency investment decisions made by businesses are strictly based on capital budgeting analysis. As a result, these investments are not decided upon because they are profitable only in appearance, since several hidden and transaction costs, as well as a high level of risk, lower their profi tability below a firm’s cost of capital. It is curious that the energy-economics literature hasn’t explored important questions discussed for several years by some fi nance research: do financial factors and capital budgeting tools really determine investment decisions? Does the investment type influence the decision-making process and the final decision? Different streams of literature – organizational finance, strategic decision-making, technology investment analysis – have discussed these questions to improve our understanding of how capital budgeting systems work and have evolved. Several empirical studies have investigated the role of formal appraisal tools on capital investment decision-making. Th eir fi ndings converge on the following conclusions: conventional fi nancial analysis tools are widely used, and yet their real role is oft en secondary in investment decisions; sometimes they are simply used as a communication tool; the strategic character of investments has a heavier decisional weight. However, practices diverge with national cultures. The goal of this paper is to review this literature, in order to escape the fruitless debate on energy-effi ciency investments profi tability as well as to highlight new ways to consider – and more importantly, to influence – decisions made in this regard. Ultimately, a better knowledge of corporate investment decision-making will enable the design of more effective public policies to promote corporate energy-effi ciency investments, since the partial infl uence of fi nancial factors and the importance of strategic factors in investment decisions entail several practical conclusions: fi rst, improving investment profitability (through subventions or low-interest loans) is not sufficient to ensure a positive decision; secondly, information on profitability is not of much help either; thirdly, it is necessary to ascertain – and communicate about – the impact of energy efficiency investments on a company’s competitive advantage, or in other words, to highlight the strategic character of these investments.
Keywords Corporate investment decisionsCapital budgetingHidden costs
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Structures
Research groups Systèmes énergétiques
ISE Pôle Sciences
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COOREMANS, Catherine. The role of formal capital budgeting analysis in corporate investment decision-making: a literature review. In: eceee 2009 Summer Study. La Colle sur Loup (France). [s.l.] : [s.n.], 2009. p. 1.177;237-245. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:97653

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