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Investment and the Cost of Capital: New Evidence from the Corporate Bond Market

  • Simon Gilchrist
  • Egon Zakrajsek

We study the effect of variation in interest rates on investment spending, employing a large panel data set that links yields on outstanding corporate bonds to the issuer income and balance sheet statements. The bond price data -- based on trades in the secondary market -- enable us to construct a firm-specific measure of the user cost of capital based on the marginal cost of external finance as determined in the market for long-term corporate debt. Our results imply a robust and quantitatively important effect of the user cost of capital on the firm-level investment decisions. According to our estimates, a 1 percentage point increase in the user cost of capital implies a reduction in the investment rate of 50 to 75 basis points and, in the long run, a 1 percent reduction in the stock of capital.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13174.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13174.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13174
Note: EFG ME
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  3. Paul Bachman & Jonathan Haughton & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Alfonso Sanchez-Penalver & David G. Tuerck, 2006. "Taxing Sales Under the FairTax: What Rate Works?," NBER Working Papers 12732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin Feldstein & Charles Horioka, 1979. "Domestic Savings and International Capital Flows," NBER Working Papers 0310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
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  14. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2004. "The Role of Immigration in Dealing with the Developed World's Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 10512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1981. "An Examination of Empirical Tests of Social Security and Savings," NBER Working Papers 0730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1998. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," Working Papers 9801, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  17. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Smetters, Kent A & Walliser, Jan, 1998. "Social Security: Privatization and Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 137-41, May.
  18. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  22. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  23. Feldstein, Martin (ed.), 1998. "Privatizing Social Security," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226241012.
  24. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1999. "Privatizing Social Security in the U.S. -- Comparing the Options," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 532-574, July.
  25. Kenneth A. Lewis & Laurence S. Seidman, 2002. "Funding Social Security: The Transition in a Life-Cycle Growth Model," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 159-180, Spring.
  26. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
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  28. Bernd Raffelhüschen, 1993. "Funding social security through Pareto-optimal conversion policies," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 105-131, December.
  29. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Are consumption taxes really better than income taxes?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 475-503, June.
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