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Aggregate Risk and the Choice between Cash and Lines of Credit

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  • Viral V. Acharya
  • Heitor Almeida
  • Murillo Campello

Abstract

We argue that a firm's aggregate risk is a key determinant of whether it manages its future liquidity needs through cash reserves or bank lines of credit. Banks create liquidity for firms by pooling their idiosyncratic risks. As a result, firms with high aggregate risk find it costly to get credit lines from banks and opt for cash reserves in spite of higher opportunity costs and liquidity premium. We verify our model's hypothesis empirically by showing that firms with high asset beta have a higher ratio of cash reserves to lines of credit, controlling for other determinants of liquidity policy. This effect of asset beta on liquidity management is economically significant, especially for financially constrained firms; is robust to variation in the proxies for firms' exposure to aggregate risk and availability of credit lines; works at the firm level as well as the industry level; and is significantly stronger in times when aggregate risk is high. Consistent with the channel that drives these effects in our model, we find that firms with high asset beta face higher spreads on bank credit lines.

Suggested Citation

  • Viral V. Acharya & Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello, 2010. "Aggregate Risk and the Choice between Cash and Lines of Credit," NBER Working Papers 16122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jose M. Berrospide & Ralf R. Meisenzahl & Briana D. Sullivan, 2012. "Credit line use and availability in the financial crisis: the importance of hedging," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Auray, Stéphane & de Blas, Beatriz, 2013. "Investment, matching and persistence in a modified cash-in-advance economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 591-610.
    3. repec:eee:ecmode:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:249-269 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Acharya, Viral V. & Afonso, Gara & Kovner, Anna, 2017. "How do global banks scramble for liquidity? Evidence from the asset-backed commercial paper freeze of 2007," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 1-34.
    5. Acharya, Viral V & Mora, Nada, 2011. "Are Banks Passive Liquidity Backstops? Deposit Rates and Flows during the 2007-2009 Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 8706, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Filippo Ippolito & Ander Perez, 2012. "Credit Lines: The Other Side of Corporate Liquidity," Working Papers 618, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. Anna Białek-Jaworska & Natalia Nehrebecka, 2016. "The role of bank credit in business financing in Poland," Working Papers 2016-03, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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