IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgfe/2014-02.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The insensitivity of investment to interest rates: Evidence from a survey of CFOs

Author

Abstract

A fundamental tenet of investment theory and the traditional theory of monetary policy transmission is that investment expenditures by businesses are negatively affected by interest rates. Yet, a large body of empirical research offer mixed evidence, at best, for a substantial interest-rate effect on investment. In this paper, we examine the sensitivity of investment plans to interest rates using a set of special questions asked of CFOs in the Global Business Outlook Survey conducted in the third quarter of 2012. Among the more than 500 responses to the special questions, we find that most firms claim to be quite insensitive to decreases in interest rates, and only mildly more responsive to interest rate increases. Most CFOs cited ample cash or the low level of interest rates, as explanations for their own insensitivity. We also find that sensitivity to interest rate changes tends to be lower among firms that do not report being concerned about working capital management as well as those that do not expect to borrow over the coming year. Perhaps more surprisingly, we find that investment is also less interest sensitive among firms expecting greater revenue growth. These findings seem to be corroborated by a cursory meta-analysis of average hurdle rates drawn from firm-level surveys at different times over the past 30 years, which exhibit no apparent relation to market interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven A. Sharpe & Gustavo A. Suarez, 2013. "The insensitivity of investment to interest rates: Evidence from a survey of CFOs," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-2, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2014-02
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/feds/2014/files/201402r.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2014/201402/201402pap.pdf
    File Function: Full text (Original)
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Campello, Murillo & Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2010. "The real effects of financial constraints: Evidence from a financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 470-487, September.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Robert S. Chirinko, 1992. "Business Fixed Investment Spending: A Critical survey of Modeling Strategies, Empirical Results, and Policy Implications," Working Papers 9213, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    6. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474, April.
    7. Abel, Andrew B & Eberly, Janice C, 1994. "A Unified Model of Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1369-1384, December.
    8. Simon Gilchrist & Egon Zakrajsek, 2007. "Investment and the Cost of Capital: New Evidence from the Corporate Bond Market," NBER Working Papers 13174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1994. "Small Sample Bias and Adjustment Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 52-58, February.
    10. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
    11. Schaller, Huntley, 2006. "Estimating the long-run user cost elasticity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 725-736, May.
    12. 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.
    13. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2001. "The theory and practice of corporate finance: evidence from the field," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 187-243, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Steven A. Sharpe & Gustavo A. Suarez, 2021. "Why Isn’t Business Investment More Sensitive to Interest Rates? Evidence from Surveys," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(2), pages 720-741, February.
    2. Coulibaly Brahima & Millar Jonathan N., 2011. "The "Elusive" Capital-User Cost Elasticity Revisited," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-41, September.
    3. Chirinko, Robert S., 2008. "[sigma]: The long and short of it," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 671-686, June.
    4. Le, Duc Thuc & Jones, John Bailey, 2005. "Optimal investment with lumpy costs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1211-1236, July.
    5. Bolton, Patrick & Wang, Neng & Yang, Jinqiang, 2019. "Investment under uncertainty with financial constraints," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    6. John A. List & Michael S. Haigh, 2010. "Investment Under Uncertainty: Testing the Options Model with Professional Traders," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 974-984, November.
    7. Driver, Ciaran & Temple, Paul & Urga, Giovanni, 2008. "Real options -- delay vs. pre-emption: Do industrial characteristics matter?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 532-545, March.
    8. Guido Baldi & Alexander Lange, 2019. "The Interest Rate Sensitivity of Investment," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 52(2), pages 173-190.
    9. Walch, Florian & Dwenger, Nadja, 2011. "Tax Losses and Firm Investment: Evidence from Tax Statistics," VfS Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48699, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Simon Price, 2004. "UK investment and the return to equity: Q redux," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2004 87, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    11. Jonathan Hambur & Gianni La Cava, 2018. "Do Interest Rates Affect Business Investment? Evidence from Australian Company-level Data," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2018-05, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    12. Simon Price & Christoph Schleicher, 2006. "Returns to equity, investment and Q: evidence from the United Kingdom," Bank of England working papers 310, Bank of England.
    13. Gaudet, Gerard & Lasserre, Pierre & Van Long, Ngo, 1998. "Real investment decisions under adjustment costs and asymmetric information," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 71-95, September.
    14. Simon Gilchrist & Raphael Schoenle & Jae Sim & Egon Zakrajšek, 2017. "Inflation Dynamics during the Financial Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(3), pages 785-823, March.
    15. Klaus Gugler & Mario Liebensteiner & Adhurim Haxhimusa & Nora Schindler, 2016. "Investment under Uncertainty in Electricity Generation," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp234, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    16. Sarantis Kalyvitis, 2006. "Another look at the linear q model: an empirical analysis of aggregate business capital spending with maintenance expenditures," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 39(4), pages 1282-1315, November.
    17. Marina Riem, 2016. "Corporate investment decisions under political uncertainty," ifo Working Paper Series 221, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    18. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
    19. Nadja Dwenger, 2014. "User Cost Elasticity of Capital Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 81(321), pages 161-186, January.
    20. Balázs Égert, 2018. "Regulation, Institutions and Aggregate Investment: New Evidence from OECD Countries," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 415-449, April.

    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:fip:fedgfe:2014-02. 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/frbgvus.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: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.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.