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Q, Cash Flow and Investment: An Econometric Critique


  • Christopher F. Baum

    () (Boston College)

  • Clifford F. Thies

    () (Shenandoah University)


The effect of measurement error on estimates of the Q and cash flow model of investment is investigated. Two sources of error are considered: expensing of research and development expenditures and the failure to separate out that component of cash flow which relaxes financing constraints. We apply random-effects and instrumental variables estimators to remedy these sources of error. When the model is properly identified, Q makes a significant contribution. However, the contribution of unexpected cash flow is not as meaningful as theory would predict, which might be explained by the relatively large size of the firms in the sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher F. Baum & Clifford F. Thies, 1996. "Q, Cash Flow and Investment: An Econometric Critique," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 332., Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:332

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klock, Mark & Thies, Clifford F, 1995. "A Test of Stulz's Overinvestment Hypothesis," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 30(3), pages 387-398, August.
    2. Chirinko, Robert S., 1993. "Multiple capital inputs, Q, and investment spending," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 907-928.
    3. Hall, Bronwyn H., 1993. "The Value of Intangible Corporate Assets: An Empirical Study of the Components of Tobin's Q," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt44x548gq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    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. Robert S. Chirinko, 1994. "Finance constraints, liquidity, and investment spending: cross-country evidence," Research Working Paper 94-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    7. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-273, March.
    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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    Cited by:

    1. Tao Shen, 2017. "Credit spreads and investment opportunities," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 117-152, January.
    2. Gleason, Katherine I. & Klock, Mark, 2006. "Intangible capital in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 300-314, May.

    More about this item


    Tobin's Q; investment; measurement error; asch flow; R&D expenditure;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models


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