IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/boe/boeewp/0753.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Business investment, cash holding and uncertainty since the Great Financial Crisis

Author

Listed:
  • Smietanka, Pawel

    (Bank of England)

  • Bloom, Nicholas

    (Stanford University)

  • Mizen, Paul

    (University of Nottingham)

Abstract

The Lehman Brothers event in 2008 created a large uncertainty shock that triggered an economic slowdown lasting a decade. The macroeconomic effects are well documented, but the effect on business decisions much less so. In this paper, we explore corporate data to investigate how economic uncertainty affected investment, dividend payouts and cash holdings, based on over 10,000 UK firm-year observations. We offer new insights into the relationship between business decisions and uncertainty, by exploiting two surveys of macroeconomic uncertainty from professional forecasters and CFOs collected by the Bank of England. These data demonstrate that heightened economic uncertainty lowered investment even after controlling for investment opportunities, sales growth, and the firm’s own stock volatility. Economic uncertainty also explains the rise in cash holdings and the fall in payouts. Hence, our results help explain why UK firms invested so little and held so much cash at a time of historically low interest rates, and also why they paid out smaller dividends. These results may help explain recent sluggish productivity in the UK economy, and they also are important, because they provide a benchmark for future studies of Brexit-related uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Smietanka, Pawel & Bloom, Nicholas & Mizen, Paul, 2018. "Business investment, cash holding and uncertainty since the Great Financial Crisis," Bank of England working papers 753, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0753
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/working-paper/2018/business-investment-cash-holding-and-uncertainty-since-the-great-financial-crisis.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. N. Bloom., 2016. "Fluctuations in uncertainty," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    2. Denis, David J. & Osobov, Igor, 2008. "Why do firms pay dividends? International evidence on the determinants of dividend policy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 62-82, July.
    3. Luigi Guiso & Giuseppe Parigi, 1999. "Investment and Demand Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 185-227.
    4. Bekaert, Geert & Hoerova, Marie & Lo Duca, Marco, 2013. "Risk, uncertainty and monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 771-788.
    5. Murillo Campello & Erasmo Giambona & John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey, 2011. "Liquidity Management and Corporate Investment During a Financial Crisis," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 1944-1979.
    6. Nick Bloom & Stephen Bond & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Uncertainty and Investment Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 391-415.
    7. Nicholas Bloom & Max Floetotto & Nir Jaimovich & Itay Saporta†Eksten & Stephen J. Terry, 2018. "Really Uncertain Business Cycles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(3), pages 1031-1065, May.
    8. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474, April.
    9. Jae Sim & Egon Zakrajsek & Simon Gilchrist, 2010. "Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 1285, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 1996. "Optimal Investment with Costly Reversibility," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 581-593.
    11. Caldara, Dario & Fuentes-Albero, Cristina & Gilchrist, Simon & Zakrajšek, Egon, 2016. "The macroeconomic impact of financial and uncertainty shocks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 185-207.
    12. Valerie A. Ramey & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2001. "Displaced Capital: A Study of Aerospace Plant Closings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 958-992, October.
    13. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2016. "Measuring Economic Policy Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1593-1636.
    14. Michael Faulkender & Rong Wang, 2006. "Corporate Financial Policy and the Value of Cash," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1957-1990, August.
    15. Andrade, Philippe & Crump, Richard K. & Eusepi, Stefano & Moench, Emanuel, 2016. "Fundamental disagreement," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 106-128.
    16. Gustavo Grullon & Roni Michaely, 2002. "Dividends, Share Repurchases, and the Substitution Hypothesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1649-1684, August.
    17. Tehmina Khan, 2006. "Company Dividends and Ownership Structure: Evidence from UK Panel Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 172-189, March.
    18. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Stulz, Rene M., 2006. "Dividend policy and the earned/contributed capital mix: a test of the life-cycle theory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 227-254, August.
    19. Gianna Boero & Jeremy Smith & KennethF. Wallis, 2008. "Uncertainty and Disagreement in Economic Prediction: The Bank of England Survey of External Forecasters," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1107-1127, July.
    20. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-863.
    21. Opler, Tim & Pinkowitz, Lee & Stulz, Rene & Williamson, Rohan, 1999. "The determinants and implications of corporate cash holdings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 3-46, April.
    22. Scotti, Chiara, 2016. "Surprise and uncertainty indexes: Real-time aggregation of real-activity macro-surprises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-19.
    23. Han, Seungjin & Qiu, Jiaping, 2007. "Corporate precautionary cash holdings," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 43-57, March.
    24. Leduc, Sylvain & Liu, Zheng, 2016. "Uncertainty shocks are aggregate demand shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 20-35.
    25. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez‐de‐Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2000. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 1-33, February.
    26. Floyd, Eric & Li, Nan & Skinner, Douglas J., 2015. "Payout policy through the financial crisis: The growth of repurchases and the resilience of dividends," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 299-316.
    27. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Michael S. Weisbach, 2004. "The Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1777-1804, August.
    28. Arslan, Ozgur & Florackis, Chrisostomos & Ozkan, Aydin, 2006. "The role of cash holdings in reducing investment-cash flow sensitivity: Evidence from a financial crisis period in an emerging market," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 320-338, December.
    29. Brav, Alon & Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Michaely, Roni, 2005. "Payout policy in the 21st century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 483-527, September.
    30. David J. Denis & Valeriy Sibilkov, 2010. "Financial Constraints, Investment, and the Value of Cash Holdings," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 247-269, January.
    31. von Landesberger, Julian & Martinez-Carrascal, Carmen, 2010. "Explaining the money demand of non-financial corporations in the Euro area: A macro and a micro view," Working Paper Series 1257, European Central Bank.
    32. Miguel A. Ferreira & Antonio S. Vilela, 2004. "Why Do Firms Hold Cash? Evidence from EMU Countries," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 10(2), pages 295-319, June.
    33. Pornsit Jiraporn & Jang‐Chul Kim & Young Sang Kim, 2011. "Dividend Payouts and Corporate Governance Quality: An Empirical Investigation," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 251-279, May.
    34. Kim, Chang-Soo & Mauer, David C. & Sherman, Ann E., 1998. "The Determinants of Corporate Liquidity: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 335-359, September.
    35. repec:hrv:faseco:30747163 is not listed on IDEAS
    36. Alfaro, Ivan & Bloom, Nicholas & Lin, Xiaoji, 2017. "The Finance Uncertainty Multiplier," Working Paper Series 2017-30, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    37. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda, 2006. "The irrelevance of the MM dividend irrelevance theorem," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 293-315, February.
    38. Palazzo, Berardino, 2012. "Cash holdings, risk, and expected returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 162-185.
    39. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    40. Bliss, Barbara A. & Cheng, Yingmei & Denis, David J., 2015. "Corporate payout, cash retention, and the supply of credit: Evidence from the 2008–2009 credit crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 521-540.
    41. Bloom, Nick & Bunn, Philip & Mizen, Paul & Smietanka, Pawel & Thwaites, Greg & Young, Garry, 2017. "Tracking the views of British businesses: evidence form the Decision Maker Panel," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 57(2), pages 110-120.
    42. Lie, Erik, 2000. "Excess Funds and Agency Problems: An Empirical Study of Incremental Cash Disbursements," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 219-247.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Barraza, Santiago & Civelli, Andrea, 2020. "Economic policy uncertainty and the supply of business loans," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    2. Lucyna Gornicka, 2018. "Brexit Referendum and Business Investment in the UK," IMF Working Papers 2018/247, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Nicholas Bloom & Philip Bunn & Scarlet Chen & Paul Mizen & Pawel Smietanka & Greg Thwaites & Garry Young, 2018. "Brexit and Uncertainty: Insights from the Decision Maker Panel," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 39(4), pages 555-580, December.
    4. Joshy Easaw & Christian Grimme, 2021. "The Impact of Aggregate Uncertainty on Firm-Level Uncertainty," CESifo Working Paper Series 8934, CESifo.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. N. Bloom., 2016. "Fluctuations in uncertainty," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    2. Takeshi Shinohara & Tatsushi Okuda & Jouchi Nakajima, 2020. "Characteristics of Uncertainty Indices in the Macroeconomy," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 20-E-6, Bank of Japan.
    3. Josué Diwambuena & Jean-Paul K. Tsasa, 2021. "The Real Effects of Uncertainty Shocks: New Evidence from Linear and Nonlinear SVAR Models," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS87, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    4. Gabriel P. Mathy, 2020. "How much did uncertainty shocks matter in the Great Depression?," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 14(2), pages 283-323, May.
    5. Chino, Atsushi, 2016. "Do labor unions affect firm payout policy?: Operating leverage and rent extraction effects," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 156-178.
    6. Gomez-Gonzalez, Jose Eduardo & Hirs-Garzon, Jorge & Uribe, Jorge M., 2020. "Global effects of US uncertainty: real and financial shocks on real and financial markets," Working papers 69, Red Investigadores de Economía.
    7. Cristina Martínez-Sola & Pedro J. García-Teruel & Pedro Martínez-Solano, 2018. "Cash holdings in SMEs: speed of adjustment, growth and financing," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 51(4), pages 823-842, December.
    8. Ahrends, Meike & Drobetz, Wolfgang & Puhan, Tatjana Xenia, 2018. "Cyclicality of growth opportunities and the value of cash holdings," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 74-96.
    9. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana, 2020. "Uncertainty Shocks and Business Cycle Research," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 37, pages 118-166, August.
    10. Pierluigi Balduzzi & Emanuele Brancati & Marco Brianti & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2019. "Populism, Political Risk and the Economy: Lessons from Italy," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 989, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 28 Apr 2020.
    11. Kotcharin, Suntichai & Maneenop, Sakkakom, 2020. "Geopolitical risk and corporate cash holdings in the shipping industry," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    12. Hsuan-Chu Lin & She-Chih Chiu, 2017. "Tradeoff on corporate cash holdings: a theoretical and empirical analysis," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 727-763, October.
    13. Seyed Alireza Athari, 2021. "The effects of institutional settings and risks on bank dividend policy in an emerging market: Evidence from Tobit model," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 4493-4515, July.
    14. Al-Thaqeb, Saud Asaad & Algharabali, Barrak Ghanim, 2019. "Economic policy uncertainty: A literature review," The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Elsevier, vol. 20(C).
    15. Luca Rossi, 2020. "Indicators of uncertainty: a brief user’s guide," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 564, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    16. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2019. "Uncertainty over production forecasts: An empirical analysis using monthly quantitative survey data," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 163-179.
    17. Hou, Canran & Liu, Huan, 2020. "Foreign residency rights and corporate cash holdings," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    18. Amess, Kevin & Banerji, Sanjay & Lampousis, Athanasios, 2015. "Corporate cash holdings: Causes and consequences," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 421-433.
    19. Wu, Ji & Yao, Yao & Chen, Minghua & Jeon, Bang Nam, 2020. "Economic uncertainty and bank risk: Evidence from emerging economies," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    20. Ahmed, Ali & Granberg, Mark & Troster, Victor & Uddin, Gazi Salah, 2020. "Asymmetric Dynamics between Uncertainty and Unemployment Flows in the United States," LiU Working Papers in Economics 7, Linköping University, Division of Economics, Department of Management and Engineering.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    uncertainty; investment; cash holdings; dividend policy; survey forecasts;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0753. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/boegvuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Digital Media Team (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/boegvuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.