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What Can We Learn About the Sensitivity of Investment to Stock Prices with a Better Measure of Tobin's q?

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  • William M. Gentry

    ()
    (Williams College)

  • Christopher J. Mayer

Abstract

This paper examines the responsiveness of investment to q (i.e., the ratio of a firm's market value to the replacement cost of its assets) using data on a unique type of firm: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). For REITs, we have high quality estimates of the net asset value of the firm that we use to create relatively accurate measures of Tobin's q. In addition, REITs have institutional features that mitigate some of the complications faced by previous studies. We have three main results. First, there is little evidence of a statistical link between REIT investment and a traditional accounting-based measure of q. Second, REIT investment is highly sensitive to estimates of q that are based on analysts' appraisals of asset value. A REIT whose NAV-based q ratio rises from 1.0 to 1.1 will increase its assets by 4.3 percent in the next year. Third, the difference between the appraisal-based measure of q and the traditional accounting based measure typically increases with the age of the firm's assets and varies across types of properties. These results suggest that measurement error in q can lead to appreciable downward biases in investment sensitivities, even in an industry that seems to meet many of the assumptions in Tobin's original paper, but that Tobin's investment model performs well with a better measure of q.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2003-03.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2003-03

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Keywords: Investment; Tobin's q; Real Estate Investment Trusts;

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References

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  1. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & Stephen D. Oliner, 1999. "Investment behavior, observable expectations, and internal funds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) 1999-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. William M. Gentry & Deen Kemsley & Christopher J. Mayer, 2001. "Dividend Taxes and Share Prices: Evidence from Real Estate Investment Trusts," NBER Working Papers 8486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  4. Malcolm Baker & Jeremy C. Stein & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2002. "When Does the Market Matter? Stock Prices and the Investsment of Equity-Dependent Firms," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1978, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Janice C. Eberly & Andrew B. Abel, 2004. "Q Theory Without Adjustment Costs & Cash Flow Effects Without Financing Constraints," 2004 Meeting Papers 205, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Todd Sinai & Joseph Gyourko, 2000. "The Asset Price Incidence of Capital Gains Taxes: Evidence from the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and Publicly-Traded Real Estate Firms," NBER Working Papers 7893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  8. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen & Devereux, Michael & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1992. "Investment and Tobin's Q: Evidence from company panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 233-257.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicolas Kohl & Wolfgang Schaefers, 2012. "Corporate Governance and Market Valuation of Publicly Traded Real Estate Companies: Evidence from Europe," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 362-393, April.
  2. William M. Gentry & Charles M. Jones & Christopher J. Mayer, 2004. "Do Stock Prices Really Reflect Fundamental Values? The Case of REITs," NBER Working Papers 10850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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