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The roles of expected profitability, Tobin's Q and cash flow in econometric models of company investment

Listed author(s):
  • Steve Bond

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Nuffield College, Oxford)

  • Alexander Klemm

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Rain Newton-Smith

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Murtaza Syed

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Gertjan Vlieghe

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Evidence that cash flow has a significant effect on company investment spending, after controlling for Tobin's average Q, has often been interpreted as suggesting the importance of financing constraints. Recent work on measurement error in the Q model casts doubt on this interpretation. It is possible that the Q model may not be identified if there are ?ubbles' in stock market valuations that are both persistent over time and that are correlated with fundamental values. Cash flow may then provide additional information about expected profitability that is not captured by a poorly measured Tobin's average Q variable. We explore this hypothesis empirically using UK panel data on companies for which analysts' earnings forecasts are available from the IBES database. The results point to a severe measurement error in average Q. The paper finds that, controlling for expected profitability using analysts' earnings forecasts, cash flow becomes insignificant. Both sales growth and cash-stock variables do provide additional information, which could either be capturing expectations of profitability at longer horizons, or reflect misspecification of the basic Q model. Results for subsamples do not suggest financing constraints as a likely explanation for these findings.

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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0412.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W04/12.

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Length: 43 pp
Date of creation: 02 Jun 2004
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:04/12
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  1. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen & Devereux, Michael & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1992. "Investment and Tobin's Q: Evidence from company panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 233-257.
  2. William C. Brainard & James Tobin, 1968. "Pitfalls in Financial Model-Building," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 244, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Campbell, J.Y. & Kyle, A.S., 1988. "Smart Money, Noise Trading And Stock Price Behavior," Papers 95, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  4. Gilchrist, S. & Himmelberg, C.P., 1995. "Evidence on the Role of Cash Flow for Investment," Papers 95-29, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
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  8. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne, 1999. "How does financial pressure affect firms?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1435-1456, August.
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  10. Michael Devereux & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1989. "Investment, Finacial Factors and Cash Flow: Evidence From UK Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 3116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  12. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities are not Valid Measures of Financing Constraints," NBER Working Papers 7659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
  14. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities are Useful: A Comment on Kaplan and Zingales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 695-705.
  15. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & Stephen D. Oliner, 2006. "Investment Behavior, Observable Expectations, and Internal Funds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 796-810, June.
  16. Stephen Bond, 2000. "Noisy Share Prices and the Q Model of Investment," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1320, Econometric Society.
  17. Stephen Bond & Julie Elston & Jacques Mairesse & Benoit Mulkay, 1997. "Financial Factors and Investment in Belgium, France, Germany and the UK:A Comparison Using Company Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 5900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Stephen R. Bond & Jason G. Cummins, 2000. "The Stock Market and Investment in the New Economy: Some Tangible Facts and Intangible Fictions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 61-124.
  19. 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.
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  21. Froot, Kenneth A & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1991. "Intrinsic Bubbles: The Case of Stock Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1189-1214, December.
  22. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Are Not Valid Measures of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 707-712.
  23. 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.
  24. Bond, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 2007. "Microeconometric Models of Investment and Employment," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 65 Elsevier.
  25. Simon Gilchrist & Charles Himmelberg, 1998. "Investment, Fundamentals and Finance," NBER Working Papers 6652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Olivier J. Blanchard & Mark W. Watson, 1982. "Bubbles, Rational Expectations and Financial Markets," NBER Working Papers 0945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
  28. Russell Cooper & Joao Ejarque, 2000. "Exhuming Q: Market Power vs. Capital Market Imperfections," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0528, Econometric Society.
  29. Russell W. Cooper & Joao Ejarque, 2001. "Exhuming Q: market power capital market imperfections," Working Papers 611, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  30. 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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