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Is R&D cash flow sensitive? Evidence from Chinese industrial firms

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  • Weng, Qian
  • Söderbom, Måns

Abstract

We hypothesize that research and development (R&D) is sensitive to cash flow fluctuations due to asymmetric information and agency problems in the credit market. We adopt a variant of the Q model for R&D investment using the value of the firm, physical capital and employment to capture firm fundamentals as proxies for investment opportunities. We add cash flow to this specification, and estimate the augmented model separately for R&D participation and spending decisions using data on Chinese industrial firms for the period 2001–2006. We find that R&D participation and spending are sensitive to cash flow fluctuations, conditional on firm fundamentals. We also find that the cash flow sensitivity of R&D varies across firms depending on ownership.

Suggested Citation

  • Weng, Qian & Söderbom, Måns, 2018. "Is R&D cash flow sensitive? Evidence from Chinese industrial firms," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 77-95.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:47:y:2018:i:c:p:77-95
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2017.12.008
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    Keywords

    R&D; Cash flow; Financing constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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