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Investment, R&D and Financial Constraints in Britain and Germany

In: Contributions in Memory of Zvi Griliches

  • Stephen Bond
  • Dietmar Harhoff
  • John Van Reenen

This paper tests for the importance of cash flow on investment in fixed capital and R&D using firm-level panel data in two countries between 1985 and 1994. For German firms, cash flow is not informative in simple econometric models of fixed investment or R&D. In identical pecifications for British firms, cash flow is informative about investment, although not about the level of R&D spending conditional on the R&D participation decision. In the UK, we also find that investment is less sensitive to cash flow for R&D-performing firms, and that cash flow predicts whether firms perform R&D or not. We confirm that these differences do not simply reflect a greater role for current cash flow in forecasting future sales. These results suggest that financial constraints are more significant in Britain, that they affect the decision to engage in R&D rather than the level of R&D spending by participants, and that consequently the British firms that do engage in R&D are a self-selected group where financing constraints tend to be less binding.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Jacques Mairesse & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2010. "Contributions in Memory of Zvi Griliches," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mair10-1, March.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12242.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12242
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