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Do Financing Constraints Explain Why Investment is Correlated with Cash Flow?

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  • Steven N. Kaplan
  • Luigi Zingales

Abstract

This paper investigates the sources of the correlation between corporate cash flow and investment by undertaking an in-depth analysis of the 49 low-dividend firms identified by Fazzari, Hubbard, and Petersen (1988) as having an unusually high investment-cash flow sensitivity. We find that in only 15% of firm-years is there some question as to a firm's ability to access internal or external funds to increase investment. Strikingly, those firms that appear less financially constrained exhibit a significantly greater investment- cash flow sensitivity than firms that appear more financially constrained. We find this pattern for the entire sample period, for sub-periods, and for individual years. The results indicate that a higher sensitivity cannot be interpreted as evidence that a firm is more financially constrained. We discuss reasons and provide evidence why the opposite may be true. These findings challenge much of the existing evidence on the effects of financial constraints.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5267.

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Date of creation: Sep 1995
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Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, feb.1997, 169-215.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5267

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  1. Simon G. Gilchrist & Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1994. "The financial accelerator and the flight to quality," Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 94-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. 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.
  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. Bond, Stephen & Meghir, Costas, 1994. "Dynamic Investment Models and the Firm's Financial Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 197-222, April.
  5. Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, . "Corporate Financial Structure and Managerial Incentives," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research 21-79, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  6. Jappelli, Tullio & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen & Souleles, Nicholas, 1995. "Testing for Liquidity Constraints in Euler Equations with Complementary Data Sources," CEPR Discussion Papers 1138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-92, July.
  8. Gilchrist, S. & Himmelberg, C.P., 1995. "Evidence on the Role of Cash Flow for Investment," Papers 95-29, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  9. 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.
  10. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 1994. "What do firms do with cash windfalls?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 337-360, December.
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  15. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1995. "Debt and Seniority: An Analysis of the Role of Hard Claims in Constraining Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 567-85, June.
  16. Anil K. Kashyap & Owen A. Lamont & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Credit conditions and the cyclical behavior of inventories," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 93-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Hoshi, Takeo & Kashyap, Anil & Scharfstein, David, 1991. "Corporate Structure, Liquidity, and Investment: Evidence from Japanese Industrial Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 33-60, February.
  18. Miller, Merton H & Rock, Kevin, 1985. " Dividend Policy under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1031-51, September.
  19. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  20. Oliner, Stephen D & Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1992. "Sources of the Financing Hierarchy for Business Investment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 643-54, November.
  21. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
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  23. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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