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Financial Constraints, the User Cost of Capital and Corporate Investment in Australia

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  • Gianni La Cava

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

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    Abstract

    This paper examines the factors that drive corporate investment in Australia using a panel of listed companies covering the period from 1990 to 2004. Real sales growth is found to be a significant determinant of corporate investment. The user cost of capital, which incorporates both debt and equity financing costs, also appears to be an important determinant. The paper also explores the effects of cash flow on investment, allowing for the possibility that the availability of internal funding could significantly affect the investment of financially constrained firms. Cash flow is found to affect investment, though the effects appear more complicated than previously reported in empirical research using Australian data. One innovation of this study is that it distinguishes financially distressed firms from financially constrained firms. The presence of financially distressed firms appears to bias downwards the sensitivity of investment to cash flow. Once separate account has been taken of firms experiencing financial distress, and in contrast to theory, cash flow is found to matter for the investment of both financially constrained and unconstrained firms. Interestingly, the estimated degree of sensitivity appears to be roughly the same for both groups.

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    File URL: http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2005/pdf/rdp2005-12.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Research Discussion Papers with number rdp2005-12.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2005-12

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    Keywords: investment; user cost of capital; panel data;

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    1. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
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    18. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    19. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 2000. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment: Response to Kaplan and Zingales," NBER Working Papers 5462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Toshitaka Sekine, 1999. "Firm Investment and Balance-Sheet Problems in Japan," IMF Working Papers 99/111, International Monetary Fund.
    21. Rose Cunningham, 2004. "Finance Constraints and Inventory Investment: Empirical Tests with Panel Data," Working Papers 04-38, Bank of Canada.
    22. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Nathalie Moyen, 2004. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities: Constrained versus Unconstrained Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2061-2092, October.
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