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How Q and Cash Flow Affect Investment without Frictions: An Analytic Explanation

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  • Andrew B. Abel
  • Janice C. Eberly

Abstract

We derive a closed-form solution for Tobin's Q in a stochastic dynamic framework. We show analytically that investment is positively related to Tobin's Q and cash flow, even in the absence of adjustment costs or financing frictions. Both Q and investment move in the same direction as expected revenue growth, so changes in expected revenue growth induce Q and investment to comove positively. Similarly, shocks to current cash flow, arising from shocks to the user cost of capital in our model, cause investment and cash flow per unit of capital to comove positively. Furthermore, we show that this alternative mechanism for the relationship among investment, Q, and cash flow delivers larger cash flow effects for smaller- and faster-growing firms, as observed in the data. Moreover, the empirically small sensitivity of investment to Tobin's Q does not imply implausibly large adjustment costs in our model (since there are no adjustment costs). Calibrating the model generates values of Q similar to those in the data; investment is more sensitive to cash flow than it is to Q, and both responses are of empirically plausible magnitudes. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 2011. "How Q and Cash Flow Affect Investment without Frictions: An Analytic Explanation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1179-1200.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:78:y:2011:i:4:p:1179-1200
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/restud/rdr006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Song, Suyong, 2015. "Semiparametric estimation of models with conditional moment restrictions in the presence of nonclassical measurement errors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 185(1), pages 95-109.
    2. 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.
    3. Stefan J. Reichelstein & Anshuman Sahoo, 2015. "Cost- and Price Dynamics of Solar PV Modules," CESifo Working Paper Series 5674, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Stijn Claessens & M. Ayhan Kose, 2017. "Asset prices and macroeconomic outcomes: A survey," CAMA Working Papers 2017-76, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    5. Schoder, Christian, 2013. "Credit vs. demand constraints: The determinants of US firm-level investment over the business cycles from 1977 to 2011," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 1-27.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:eee:reveco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:109-117 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:eneeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:54-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Casalin, Fabrizio & Dia, Enzo, 2014. "Adjustment costs, financial frictions and aggregate investment," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 60-79.

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