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Financial constraints and company investment

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  • Steve Bond

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Nuffield College, Oxford)

  • Costas Meghir

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

Abstract

The question we address in this paper is whether the investment spending of at least some firms is affected by the availability of internally generated finance (retained earnings), reflecting some constraint on the ability of these firms to raise external finance (debt or new equity) for investment. The opposing view is that the cost at which investment funds can be obtained, taken to be independent of the amount invested, is the only financial consideration that matters in the determination of investment. This is an old question in economics, which has been the subject of several official inquiries as well as a large body of academic research. The answer to this question has a number of important implications. Profits are highly cyclical, so if investment depends directly on the availability of profits then investment spending will be more sensitive to fluctuations in economic activity than would otherwise be the case. This could be an important factor in the propagation of business cycles. If post-tax profits help to determine investment spending then the impact of company taxes on investment will be more complicated than is often assumed. In particular, the average tax rate will influence the level of investment spending, in addition to the impact of taxes on the cost of capital, and any increase in the total revenue raised from corporation tax could have a directly adverse impact on business investment. There may also be an incentive for firms with available internal funds to take over firms whose investment spending is constrained, resulting in take-over activity that would otherwise be inefficient. To the extent that financial constraints on investment spending are attributable to imperfections in capital markets or to market failures, there may also be some motivation for policy measures designed to reduce these impacts, if financial constraints are found to be pervasive.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 15 (1994)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 1-18

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:15:y:1994:i:2:p:1-18

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References

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  1. Michael Devereux, 1987. "On the growth of corporation tax revenues," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 8(2), pages 77-85, May.
  2. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen & Devereux, Michael & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1992. "Investment and Tobin's Q: Evidence from company panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 233-257.
  3. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Abel, Andrew B., 1980. "Empirical investment equations : An integrative framework," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 39-91, January.
  5. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Steve Bond & Kevin Denny & Michael Devereux, 1993. "Capital allowances and the impact of corporation tax on investment in the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 14(2), pages 1-14, May.
  7. Jeremy Edwards, 1984. "Does dividend policy matter?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 5(1), pages 1-17, February.
  8. Chirinko, Robert S, 1993. "Business Fixed Investment Spending: Modeling Strategies, Empirical Results, and Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1875-1911, December.
  9. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Maria Teresa Valderrama, 2002. "Credit Channel and Investment Behavior in Austria: A Micro-Econometric Approach," Working Papers 58, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  2. Coad, Alex, 2010. "Neoclassical vs evolutionary theories of financial constraints: Critique and prospectus," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 206-218, August.
  3. Gianni La Cava, 2005. "Financial Constraints, the User Cost of Capital and Corporate Investment in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2005-12, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  4. Driffield, Nigel & Pal, Sarmistha, 2006. "Do external funds yield lower returns?: Recent evidence from East Asian economies," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 171-188, February.
  5. Marie Diron & Maria Cruz Manzano & Thomas Westermann, 2005. "Forecasting aggregate investment in the euro area: do indicators of financial conditions help?," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Investigating the relationship between the financial and real economy, volume 22, pages 206-27 Bank for International Settlements.
  6. Goergen, Marc & Renneboog, Luc, 2001. "Investment policy, internal financing and ownership concentration in the UK," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 257-284, September.
  7. Alfred Haid, 2001. "Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Corporate Governance in Europe: Einführung," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(2), pages 193-200.
  8. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C, 2001. "TFP Growth in British and German Manufacturing, 1950-96," CEPR Discussion Papers 3078, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Ahmed, S., 2004. "Modelling corporate tax liabilities using company accounts: a new framework," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0412, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  10. Magda Bianco & Maria Bontempi & Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2013. "Family firms’ investments, uncertainty and opacity," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 1035-1058, May.
  11. Atzeni, Gianfranco E. & Carboni, Oliviero A., 2008. "The effects of grant policy on technology investment in Italy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 381-399.
  12. Short, Helen & Zhang, Hao & Keasey, Kevin, 2002. "The link between dividend policy and institutional ownership," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 105-122, March.
  13. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:58:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Jože P. Damijan & Črt Kostevc, 2011. "Firms' Pattern of Trade and Access to Finance," LICOS Discussion Papers 27811, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  15. Kang Kook Lee & Md. Rabiul Islam, 2009. "Financial Development And Financing Constraints In A Developing Country - The Case Of Bangladesh," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 09-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  16. Pedro Elosegui & Paula Español & Demian Panigo & Emilio Blanco, 2007. "The Asymmetrical Impact of Restrictions to Financing in Argentina. Comparison by Sector, Size and Origin of Ownership (1995-2003)," BCRA Working Paper Series 200724, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department.
  17. John Pointon & Suzanne Farrar & Jon Tucker, 1996. "European taxation and capital investment," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 57-76.

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