IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Rising intangible capital, shrinking debt capacity, and the US corporate savings glut

  • Antonio Falato
  • Dalida Kadyrzhanova
  • Jae W. Sim

This paper explores the hypothesis that the rise in intangible capital is a fundamental driver of the secular trend in US corporate cash holdings over the last decades. Using a new measure,we show that intangible capital is the most important firm-level determinant of corporate cash holdings. Our measure accounts for almost as much of the secular increase in cash since the 1980s as all other determinants together. We then develop a new dynamic model of corporate cash holdings with two types of productive assets, tangible and intangible capital. Since only tangible capital can be pledged as collateral, a shift toward greater reliance on intangible capital shrinks the debt capacity of firms and leads them to optimally hold more cash in order to preserve financial flexibility. In the model, firms with growth options tend to hold more cash in anticipation of (S,s)-type adjustments in physical capital because they want to avoid raising costly external finance. We show that this mechanism is quantitatively important, as our model generates cash holdings that are up to an order of magnitude higher than the standard benchmark and in line with their empirical averages for the last two decades. Overall, our results suggest that technological change has contributed significantly to recent changes in corporate liquidity management.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2013/201367/201367abs.html
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2013/201367/201367pap.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2013-67.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-67
Contact details of provider: Postal: 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551
Web page: http://www.federalreserve.gov/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/fedsorder.html

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Robert S. Pindyck, 1992. "Uncertainty, Investment, and Industry Evolution," NBER Working Papers 4160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-48, April.
  4. Toni Whited & Missaka Warusawitharana, 2014. "Equity market misvaluation, financing, and investment," 2014 Meeting Papers 95, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Mark T. Leary & Michael R. Roberts, 2005. "Do Firms Rebalance Their Capital Structures?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2575-2619, December.
  6. Andrew B. Abel & Avinash K. Dixit & Janice C. Eberly & Robert S. Pindyck, 1995. "Options, the Value of Capital, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 5227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Francois Gourio & Jianjun Miao, 2006. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Long-Run Effects of Dividend Tax Reform," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-053, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  8. Patrick Bolton & Hui Chen & Neng Wang, 2009. "A Unified Theory of Tobin's q, Corporate Investment, Financing, and Risk Management," NBER Working Papers 14845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Andrea L. Eisfeldt & Dimitris Papanikolaou, 2013. "Organization Capital and the Cross-Section of Expected Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(4), pages 1365-1406, 08.
  10. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-79, November.
  11. Alvarez, Fernando & Stokey, Nancy L., 1998. "Dynamic Programming with Homogeneous Functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 167-189, September.
  12. Lins, Karl V. & Servaes, Henri & Tufano, Peter, 2010. "What drives corporate liquidity? An international survey of cash holdings and lines of credit," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 160-176, October.
  13. Thomas F. Cooley & Vincenzo Quadrini, 1999. "Financial Markets and Firm Dynamics," Working Papers 99-14, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  14. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  15. Christopher Hennessy & Toni Whited, 2004. "Debt Dynamics," 2004 Meeting Papers 592, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Christopher A. Hennessy & Toni M. Whited, 2007. "How Costly Is External Financing? Evidence from a Structural Estimation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1705-1745, 08.
  17. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
  18. Kenneth A. Froot & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1992. "Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," NBER Working Papers 4084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Loukas Karabarbounis & Brent Neiman, 2012. "Declining Labor Shares and the Global Rise of Corporate Saving," NBER Working Papers 18154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Viral V. Acharya & Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello, 2005. "Is Cash Negative Debt? A Hedging Perspective on Corporate Financial Policies," NBER Working Papers 11391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Ben S. Bernanke, 1980. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Cyclical Investment," NBER Working Papers 0502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Marcelo Veracierto, 1998. "Plant level irreversible investment and equilibrium business cycles," Working Paper Series WP-98-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  23. Carol Corrado & Charles Hulten & Daniel Sichel, 2009. "Intangible Capital And U.S. Economic Growth," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(3), pages 661-685, 09.
  24. Frank, Murray Z. & Goyal, Vidhan K., 2003. "Testing the pecking order theory of capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 217-248, February.
  25. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1991. "Irreversibility and Aggregate Investment," NBER Working Papers 3865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
  27. Bronwyn H. Hall, Adam Jaffe and Manuel Trajtenberg., 2000. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Economics Working Papers E00-277, University of California at Berkeley.
  28. Michael L. Lemmon & Michael R. Roberts & Jaime F. Zender, 2008. "Back to the Beginning: Persistence and the Cross-Section of Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1575-1608, 08.
  29. Flannery, Mark J. & Rangan, Kasturi P., 2006. "Partial adjustment toward target capital structures," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 469-506, March.
  30. Natarajan Balasubramanian & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2009. "Capital Resalability, Productivity Dispersion, and Market Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 547-557, August.
  31. Eugene F. Fama, 2002. "Testing Trade-Off and Pecking Order Predictions About Dividends and Debt," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 1-33, March.
  32. Carol A. Corrado & Charles R. Hulten, 2010. "How Do You Measure a "Technological Revolution"?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 99-104, May.
  33. Toni M. Whited & Guojun Wu, 2006. "Financial Constraints Risk," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(2), pages 531-559.
  34. Adriano A. Rampini & S. Viswanathan, 2010. "Collateral, Risk Management, and the Distribution of Debt Capacity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2293-2322, December.
  35. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
  36. Dittmar, Amy & Mahrt-Smith, Jan & Servaes, Henri, 2002. "Corporate Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. Sibilkov, Valeriy, 2009. "Asset Liquidity and Capital Structure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(05), pages 1173-1196, October.
  38. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly, 1995. "Optimal Investment with Costly Reversibility," NBER Working Papers 5091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. 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, 08.
  40. Faulkender, Michael & Flannery, Mark J. & Hankins, Kristine Watson & Smith, Jason M., 2012. "Cash flows and leverage adjustments," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 632-646.
  41. Epstein, Larry G, 1983. " Aggregating Quasi-Fixed Factors," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(2), pages 191-205.
  42. Leigh A. Riddick & Toni M. Whited, 2009. "The Corporate Propensity to Save," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1729-1766, 08.
  43. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  44. Long Chen & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2009. "On the Relation Between the Credit Spread Puzzle and the Equity Premium Puzzle," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(9), pages 3367-3409, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-67. 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: (Kris Vajs)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.