IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bin/bpeajo/v48y2017i2017-02p89-190.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Investmentless Growth: An Empirical Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • Germán Gutiérrez

    (New York University)

  • Thomas Philippon

    (New York University)

Abstract

We analyze private fixed investment in the U.S. over the past 30 years. We show that investment is weak relative to measures of profitability and valuation - particularly Tobin's Q, and that this weakness starts in the early 2000's. There are two broad categories of explanations: theories that predict low investment because of low Q, and theories that predict low investment despite high Q. We argue that the data does not support the first category, and we focus on the second one. We use industry-level and firm-level data to test whether under-investment relative to Q is driven by (i) financial frictions, (ii) measurement error (due to the rise of intangibles, globalization, etc), (iii) decreased competition (due to technology or regulation), or (iv) tightened governance and/or increased short-termism. We do not find support for theories based on risk premia, financial constraints, or safe asset scarcity, and only weak support for regulatory constraints. Globalization and intangibles explain some of the trends at the industry level, but their explanatory power is quantitatively limited. On the other hand, we find fairly strong support for the competition and short-termism/governance hypotheses. Industries with less entry and more concentration invest less, even after controlling for current market conditions. Within each industry-year, the investment gap is driven by firms that are owned by quasiindexers and located in industries with less entry/more concentration. These firms spend a disproportionate amount of free cash flows buying back their shares.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Germán Gutiérrez & Thomas Philippon, 2017. "Investmentless Growth: An Empirical Investigation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(2 (Fall)), pages 89-190.
  • Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:48:y:2017:i:2017-02:p:89-190
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/gutierreztextfa17bpea.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fichtner, Jan & Heemskerk, Eelke M. & Garcia-Bernardo, Javier, 2017. "Hidden power of the Big Three? Passive index funds, re-concentration of corporate ownership, and new financial riskâ€," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 298-326, June.
    2. Morris M. Kleiner & Alan B. Krueger, 2013. "Analyzing the Extent and Influence of Occupational Licensing on the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages 173-202.
    3. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2007. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded versus Privately Held Firms," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 107-180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Julia K. Thomas, 2002. "Is Lumpy Investment Relevant for the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 508-534, June.
    5. Boyan Jovanovic & Peter L. Rousseau, 2014. "Extensive and Intensive Investment over the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 863-908.
    6. Robert E. Hall, 2001. "The Stock Market and Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1185-1202, December.
    7. Matthieu Bussière & Laurent Ferrara & Juliana Milovich, 2017. "Explaining the recent slump in investment: the role of expected demand and uncertainty," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 44, may..
    8. Azar, José & Schmalz, Martin & Tecu, Isabel, 2017. "Anti-Competitive Effects of Common Ownership," IESE Research Papers D/1169, IESE Business School.
    9. Kose,Ayhan & Ohnsorge,Franziska Lieselotte & Ye,Lei Sandy & Islamaj,Ergys, 2017. "Weakness in investment growth : causes, implications and policy responses," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7990, The World Bank.
    10. Dong Lee & Han Shin & René M. Stulz, 2016. "Why Does Capital No Longer Flow More to the Industries with the Best Growth Opportunities?," NBER Working Papers 22924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    12. David H. Autor & David Dorn & Gordon H. Hanson, 2013. "The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2121-2168, October.
    13. Christine Lewis & Nigel Pain & Jan Stráský & Fusako Menkyna, 2014. "Investment Gaps after the Crisis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1168, OECD Publishing.
    14. JULES H. van BINSBERGEN & CHRISTIAN C. OPP, 2019. "Real Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 74(4), pages 1659-1706, August.
    15. Giroud, Xavier & Mueller, Holger M., 2010. "Does corporate governance matter in competitive industries?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 312-331, March.
    16. Christopher A. Hennessy & Toni M. Whited, 2007. "How Costly Is External Financing? Evidence from a Structural Estimation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1705-1745, August.
    17. 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.
    18. Pindyck, Robert S, 1988. "Irreversible Investment, Capacity Choice, and the Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 969-985, December.
    19. Bruce A. Blonigen & Justin R. Pierce, 2016. "Evidence for the Effects of Mergers on Market Power and Efficiency," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-082, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    20. Martin C. Schmalz, 2018. "Common-Ownership Concentration and Corporate Conduct," CESifo Working Paper Series 6908, CESifo.
    21. Simon Gilchrist & Egon Zakrajsek, 2012. "Credit Spreads and Business Cycle Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1692-1720, June.
    22. Xavier Giroud & Holger M. Mueller, 2011. "Corporate Governance, Product Market Competition, and Equity Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 563-600, April.
    23. Ricardo J Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi, 2018. "The Safety Trap," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(1), pages 223-274.
    24. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Financial Dependence and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 559-586, June.
    25. Simon Mongey, 2017. "Market Structure and Monetary Non-Neutrality," 2017 Meeting Papers 184, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    26. Anil K Kashyap & Owen A. Lamont & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Credit Conditions and the Cyclical Behavior of Inventories," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 565-592.
    27. Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Taxing across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 121-148, Fall.
    28. Philippe Aghion & Stefan Bechtold & Lea Cassar & Holger Herz, 2018. "The Causal Effects of Competition on Innovation: Experimental Evidence," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 162-195.
    29. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    30. Yen-Cheng Chang & Harrison Hong & Inessa Liskovich, 2015. "Regression Discontinuity and the Price Effects of Stock Market Indexing," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 28(1), pages 212-246.
    31. Caroline Flammer & Pratima Bansal, 2017. "Does a long-term orientation create value? Evidence from a regression discontinuity," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(9), pages 1827-1847, September.
    32. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
    33. Jarrad Harford & Sattar A. Mansi & William F. Maxwell, 2012. "Corporate Governance and Firm Cash Holdings in the U.S," Springer Books, in: Sabri Boubaker & Bang Dang Nguyen & Duc Khuong Nguyen (ed.), Corporate Governance, edition 127, pages 107-138, Springer.
    34. Bena, Jan & Ferreira, Miguel A & Matos, Pedro & Pires, Pedro, 2017. "Are foreign investors locusts? The long-term effects of foreign institutional ownership," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 122-146.
    35. Fritz Foley, C. & Hartzell, Jay C. & Titman, Sheridan & Twite, Garry, 2007. "Why do firms hold so much cash? A tax-based explanation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 579-607, December.
    36. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    37. Nathalie Moyen, 2004. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities: Constrained versus Unconstrained Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2061-2092, October.
    38. Alan D. Crane & Sébastien Michenaud & James P. Weston, 2016. "Editor's Choice The Effect of Institutional Ownership on Payout Policy: Evidence from Index Thresholds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 29(6), pages 1377-1408.
    39. Peters, Ryan H. & Taylor, Lucian A., 2017. "Intangible capital and the investment-q relation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 251-272.
    40. Vashakmadze,Ekaterine T. & Kambou,Gerard & Chen,Derek Hung Chiat & Nandwa,Boaz & Okawa,Yohei & Vorisek,Dana Lauren, 2017. "Regional dimensions of recent weakness in investment : drivers, investment needs and policy responses," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7991, The World Bank.
    41. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 85-106.
    42. Acharya, Viral & Plantin, Guillaume, 2017. "Monetary easing and financial instability," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 70715, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    43. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
    44. Decker, Ryan A. & Haltiwanger, John & Jarmin, Ron S. & Miranda, Javier, 2016. "Where has all the skewness gone? The decline in high-growth (young) firms in the U.S," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 4-23.
    45. Ryan Decker & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2014. "The Role of Entrepreneurship in US Job Creation and Economic Dynamism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 3-24, Summer.
    46. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Germán Gutiérrez & Thomas Philippon, 2017. "Declining Competition and Investment in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 23583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Moshirian, Fariborz & Nanda, Vikram & Vadilyev, Alexander & Zhang, Bohui, 2017. "What drives investment–cash flow sensitivity around the World? An asset tangibility Perspective," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-17.
    3. Caggese, Andrea, 2007. "Testing financing constraints on firm investment using variable capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 683-723, December.
    4. Stijn Claessens & M Ayhan Kose, 2018. "Frontiers of macrofinancial linkages," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 95.
    5. Chen, Huafeng (Jason) & Chen, Shaojun (Jenny), 2012. "Investment-cash flow sensitivity cannot be a good measure of financial constraints: Evidence from the time series," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 393-410.
    6. Lin, Xiaoji & Wang, Chong & Wang, Neng & Yang, Jinqiang, 2018. "Investment, Tobin’s q, and interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 620-640.
    7. Franzoni, Francesco, 2009. "Underinvestment vs. overinvestment: Evidence from price reactions to pension contributions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 491-518, June.
    8. Andrei, Daniel & Mann, William & Moyen, Nathalie, 2019. "Why did the q theory of investment start working?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(2), pages 251-272.
    9. Robin Döttling & Tomislav Ladika & Enrico Perotti, 2016. "The (Self-)Funding of Intangibles," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-093/IV, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Igor Cunha & Michael S. Weisbach, 2014. "Corporate Liquidity Management: A Conceptual Framework and Survey," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 135-162, December.
    11. Amess, Kevin & Banerji, Sanjay & Lampousis, Athanasios, 2015. "Corporate cash holdings: Causes and consequences," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 421-433.
    12. Wang, Mengying, 2017. "Does foreign direct investment affect host-country firms' financial constraints?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 522-539.
    13. Patrick Bolton & Hui Chen & Neng Wang, 2011. "A Unified Theory of Tobin's q, Corporate Investment, Financing, and Risk Management," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1545-1578, October.
    14. Stein, Jeremy C., 2003. "Agency, information and corporate investment," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 111-165, Elsevier.
    15. Luo, Mi (Meg), 2011. "A bright side of financial constraints in cash management," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 1430-1444.
    16. von Beschwitz, Bastian, 2018. "Cash windfalls and acquisitions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(2), pages 287-319.
    17. Duchin, Ran & Ozbas, Oguzhan & Sensoy, Berk A., 2010. "Costly external finance, corporate investment, and the subprime mortgage credit crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 418-435, September.
    18. Richard Kum-yew Lai, 2005. "Inventory and the Stock Market," Finance 0509006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Alfaro, Ivan & Bloom, Nicholas & Lin, Xiaoji, 2017. "The Finance Uncertainty Multiplier," Working Paper Series 2017-30, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    20. Drobetz, Wolfgang & von Meyerinck, Felix & Oesch, David & Schmid, Markus, 2014. "Board Industry Experience, Firm Value, and Investment Behavior," Working Papers on Finance 1401, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Dec 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fixed investment; profitibility; valuation; Tobin's Q; globalization; regulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:48:y:2017:i:2017-02:p:89-190. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/esbrous.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jennifer Ambrosino (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/esbrous.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.