IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Global Uncertainty and Firm Investment: Empirical Assessment


  • Hyunduk Suh

    (Department of Economics, Inha University)

  • Jin Young Yang

    (Department of Finance, Zayed University)


Using firm-level data from 36 countries, we estimate the effect of global uncertainty on corporate investment and financial decisions. Eleven global uncertainty measures that encompass macro, micro, and higher-order dimensions of uncertainty are employed. We find that while Economic Policy Uncertainty (EPU) measures negatively affect investment, non-EPU measures have positive effects. In 2010s, EPU and non-EPU measures exhibit notably different behaviors which appear to considerably influence our results. We also explore how firm- and country-specific characteristics affect the relationship between uncertainty and investment. The negative effects of EPU measures on investment are stronger for firms with high investment irreversibility and high leverage, but no such effect is observed from non-EPU measures. In countries with deeper credit markets, investment decisions are less sensitive to uncertainty. Regarding financial decisions, (1) increased EPU measures lead to increased cash holdings, while an increase in most other uncertainty measures reduces them and (2) except for Global EPU, most uncertainty measures are negatively associated with dividend payouts. Overall, our results reveal that contrary to a substantial body of recent scholarly work, the uncertainty-investment relation is sensitive to uncertainty measures and sample periods and different uncertainty measures have differential effects on cash holdings and dividend payouts.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyunduk Suh & Jin Young Yang, 2019. "Global Uncertainty and Firm Investment: Empirical Assessment," Inha University IBER Working Paper Series 2019-1, Inha University, Institute of Business and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:inh:wpaper:2019-1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2019
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Uncertainty; Investment; Cash holdings; Dividends;

    JEL classification:

    • F44 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Business Cycles
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:inh:wpaper:2019-1. 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: (Hyunduk Suh). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.