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Investment under Uncertainty with Financial Constraints

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  • Patrick Bolton
  • Neng Wang
  • Jinqiang Yang

Abstract

We develop an integrated theory of investment, seasoned equity offerings (SEOs), liquidation, and corporate savings under uncertainty for a financially constrained firm, which features endogenous growth options, abandonment options, and payout policies. Facing costly external financing, the firm prefers to fund its investment internally, so that its optimal policies and value depend on both its earnings fundamentals and liquidity holdings. The firm values not only real flexibility but also financial flexibility. The interaction of real and financial flexibility generates novel real options results: (1) Limited financial slack significantly erodes the value of growth & abandonment options; (2) Firms prefer projects with front-loaded cash-flows; (3) The firm's incentive to forgo costly external financing and to accumulate internal funds may cause substantial delay in investment; (4) A financially constrained firm over-invests in early stages of its life-cycle in an effort to quickly build up its cash-flow generating capacity; (5) SEOs are driven by both firm survival and growth motives. A firm in the mature phase may find itself in three mutually exclusive regions: payout, inaction, and liquidation. A firm in its growth phase may find itself in two additional regions: a region where investment is partly financed with an SEO and a region where investment is solely financed with internal funds. These regions depend on both firm savings and earnings fundamentals.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Bolton & Neng Wang & Jinqiang Yang, 2014. "Investment under Uncertainty with Financial Constraints," NBER Working Papers 20610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20610
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    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • 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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