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Financial Constraints, Asset Tangibility, and Corporate Investment

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  • Heitor Almeida
  • Murillo Campello

Abstract

When firms are able to pledge their assets as collateral, investment and borrowing become endogenous: pledgeable assets support more borrowings that in turn allow for further investment in pledgeable assets. We show that this credit multiplier has an important impact on investment when firms face credit constraints: investment-cash flow sensitivities are increasing in the degree of tangibility of constrained firms' assets. If firms are unconstrained, however, investment-cash flow sensitivities are unaffected by asset tangibility. Crucially, asset tangibility itself may determine whether a firm faces credit constraints - firms with more tangible assets may have greater access to external funds. This implies that the relationship between capital spending and cash flows is non-monotonic in the firm's asset tangibility. Our theory allows us to use a differences-in-differences approach to identify the effect of financing frictions on corporate investment: we compare the differential effect of asset tangibility on the sensitivity of investment to cash flow across different regimes of financial constraints. We implement this testing strategy on a large sample of manufacturing firms drawn from COMPUSTAT between 1985 and 2000. Our tests allow for the endogeneity of the firm's credit status, with asset tangibility influencing whether a firm is classified as credit constrained or unconstrained in a switching regression framework. The data strongly support our hypothesis about the role of asset tangibility on corporate investment under financial constraints.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12087.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Publication status: published as Almeida, Heitor and Murillo Campello. “Financial Constraints, Asset Tangibility and Corporate Investment.” Review of Financial Studies 20 (2007): 1429-1460.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12087

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  1. Xiaoqiang Hu & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1998. "Investment And Capital Market Imperfections: A Switching Regression Approach Using U.S. Firm Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 466-479, August.
  2. Christopher Polk & Paola Sapienza, 2004. "The Real Effects of Investor Sentiment," NBER Working Papers 10563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kadapakkam, Palani-Rajan & Kumar, P. C. & Riddick, Leigh A., 1998. "The impact of cash flows and firm size on investment: The international evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 293-320, March.
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  7. Whited, Toni M, 1992. " Debt, Liquidity Constraints, and Corporate Investment: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1425-60, September.
  8. Kashyap, Anil K & Lamont, Owen A & Stein, Jeremy C, 1994. "Credit Conditions and the Cyclical Behavior of Inventories," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 565-92, August.
  9. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  10. Steven A. Sharpe, 1993. "Financial market imperfections, firm leverage and the cyclicality of employment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. R. Glenn Hubbard & Anil K Kashyap & Toni M. Whited, 1993. "Internal Finance and Firm Investment," NBER Working Papers 4392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kessides, Ioannis N, 1990. "Market Concentration, Contestability, and Sunk Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 614-22, November.
  13. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 1995. "Do Financing Constraints Explain Why Investment is Correlated with Cash Flow?," NBER Working Papers 5267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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