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The U-Shaped Investment Curve: Theory and Evidence

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  • Cleary, Sean
  • Povel, Paul
  • Raith, Michael

Abstract

This paper examines how the investment of financially constrained firms varies with their level of internal funds. We develop a theoretical model of optimal investment under financial constraints. Our model endogenizes the costs of external funds and allows for negative levels of internal funds. We show that the resulting relationship between internal funds and investment is U-shaped. In particular, when a firm's internal funds are negative and sufficiently low, a further decrease leads to an increase in investment. This effect is driven by the investor's participation constraint: when part of any loan must be used to close a financing gap, the investor will provide funds only if the firm invests at a scale large enough to generate the revenue that enables the firm to repay. We test our theory using a data set with close to 100,000 firm-year observations. The data strongly support our predictions. Among other results, we find a negative relationship between measures of internal funds and investment for a substantial share of financially constrained firms. Our results also help to explain some contrasting findings in the empirical investment literature.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

Volume (Year): 42 (2007)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 1-39

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jfinqa:v:42:y:2007:i:01:p:1-39_00

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  1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," NBER Working Papers 5907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Are Not Valid Measures Of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 707-712, May.
  3. Kaplan, Steven N & Zingales, Luigi, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215, February.
  4. Peter M. DeMarzo & Michael J. Fishman, 2007. "Optimal Long-Term Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(6), pages 2079-2128, November.
  5. Sean Cleary, 1999. "The Relationship between Firm Investment and Financial Status," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 673-692, 04.
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  8. Simon G. Gilchrist & Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1994. "The financial accelerator and the flight to quality," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  10. Calomiris, Charles W & Hubbard, R Glenn, 1990. "Firm Heterogeneity, Internal Finance, and 'Credit Rationing.'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 90-104, March.
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  17. Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
  18. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
  19. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  20. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
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  23. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Are Useful: A Comment On Kaplan And Zingales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 695-705, May.
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