Profitable Investments or Dissipated Cash? Evidence on the Investment-Cash Flow Relationship From Oil and Gas Lease Bidding
The strong positive relationship between corporate cash flow and investment has been interpreted through the lens of both agency- and non-agency-based models. In this paper, we distinguish between these two interpretations using project-level data in the oil and gas industry. The specific projects we consider are auctioned-off leases that give mineral exploration rights to tracts of federal land. We find the standard positive relationship between investment and cash flow in this data, in that positive shocks to residual cash flow (netting out firm and time effects) are associated with higher spending on these leases. Interestingly, the increased investment comes from an increase in the price paid per tract with little to no change in the total number of tracts or total acreage of land bought. The positive association between price and cash flow holds even after controlling for a set of tract and firm characteristics that might be ex-ante related to expected return on a given tract. This data is most useful, however, because we can directly observe the eventual productivity of each of these projects. We find that the increase in price induced by higher cash flow is associated with lower average productivity. In fact, the total number of productive tracts does not increase with cash flow. In other words, while higher cash flow is associated with higher spending on these projects, higher cash flow does not lead to higher revenues from these projects. Combining this finding with the lack of a quantity response, we conclude that our results are best described by an agency model where managers use cash flow to simplify their job (or live a ``quiet life'') rather than ``empire-build.''
|Date of creation:||Feb 2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002.
"How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?,"
NBER Working Papers
8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
- Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003.
"Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1043-1075, October.
- Bertrand, Marianne & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2003. "Enjoying the Quiet Life? Corporate Governance and Managerial Preferences," Scholarly Articles 3429713, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Ricardo J. Caballero, 1997.
NBER Working Papers
6264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J B Heaton, 2002. "Managerial Optimism and Corporate Finance," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 31(2), Summer.
- Lamont, Owen, 1997.
" Cash Flow and Investment: Evidence from Internal Capital Markets,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 83-109, March.
- Owen Lamont, 1996. "Cash Flow and Investment: Evidence from Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 5499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kenneth Hendricks & Joris Pinkse & Robert H. Porter, 2003.
"Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 115-145.
- Rob Porter, 1999. "Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions," Working papers 99-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Kenneth Hendricks & Joris Pinkse & Robert H. Porter, 2001. "Empirical Implications of Equilibrium Bidding in First-Price, Symmetric, Common Value Auctions," NBER Working Papers 8294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Daniel Kahneman & Dan Lovallo, 1993. "Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk Taking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 17-31, January.
- Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2005.
"CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2661-2700, December.
- Aydogan Alti, 2003. "How Sensitive Is Investment to Cash Flow When Financing Is Frictionless?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 707-722, 04.
- Hendricks, Kenneth & Porter, Robert H, 1996. "The Timing and Incidence of Exploratory Drilling on Offshore Wildcat Tracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 388-407, June.
- 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.
- Hyun-Han Shin & René M. Stulz, 1998. "Are Internal capital Markets Efficient?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 531-552.
- Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
- Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988.
"Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment,"
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity,
Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11126. 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: ()
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.