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Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q

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  • Timothy Erickson
  • Toni M. Whited

Abstract

Many recent empirical investment studies have found that the investment of financially constrained firms responds strongly to cash flow. Paralleling these findings is the disappointing performance of the q theory of investment: even though marginal q should summarize the effects of all factors relevant to the investment decision, cash flow still matters. We examine whether this failure is due to error in measuring marginal q. Using measurement errorconsistent generalized method of moments estimators, we find that most of the stylized facts produced by investment-q cash flow regressions are artifacts of measurement error. Cash flow does not matter, even for financially constrained firms, and despite its simple structure, q theory has good explanatory power once purged of measurement error.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:108:y:2000:i:5:p:1027-1057
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chirinko, Robert S, 1993. "Business Fixed Investment Spending: Modeling Strategies, Empirical Results, and Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1875-1911, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Hayashi, Fumio & Inoue, Tohru, 1991. "The Relation between Firm Growth and Q with Multiple Capital Goods: Theory and Evidence from Panel Data on Japanese Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 731-753, May.
    5. Whited, Toni M, 1992. " Debt, Liquidity Constraints, and Corporate Investment: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1425-1460, September.
    6. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    8. 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.
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