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What do firms do with cash windfalls?


  • Blanchard, Olivier Jean
  • Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio
  • Shleifer, Andrei


Suppose that a firm receives a cash windfall which does not change its investment opportunity set, or equivalently its marginal Tobin's Q. What will this firm do with the money? We provide empirical answers to this question using a sample of firms with such windfalls in the form of a won or settled lawsuit. We examine a variety of decisions of the firm to shed light on alternative theories of corporate financing and investment. Our evidence is broadly inconsistent with the perfect capital markets model. The results need to be stretched considerably to fit the asymmetric information model in which managers act in the interest of shareholders. The evidence supports the agency model of managerial behavior, in which managers try to ensure the long run survival and independence of the firms with themselves at the helm.
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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:36:y:1994:i:3:p:337-360

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1989. "Default And Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model Of Debt," Working papers 520, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    4. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1990. " Do Managerial Objectives Drive Bad Acquisitions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 31-48, March.
    5. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1991. "Corporate Structure, Liquidity, and Investment: Evidence from Japanese Industrial Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 33-60.
    6. 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.
    7. Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 194-199, May.
    8. 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.
    9. Kaplan, Steven N & Weisbach, Michael S, 1992. " The Success of Acquisitions: Evidence from Divestitures," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(1), pages 107-138, March.
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