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Tobin's Q and Financial Policy

  • Robert S. Chirinko

Recent research in macroeconomics has emphasized the importance of linking the financial and real sectors and the need for working with optimizing models. Tobin’s Q model of investment would appear to provide a framework that can satisfy these two criteria. In contrast to the original presentation of the Q model, the formal development has not recognized that the firm actively participates in a number of financial markets; in this broader context, we show that Q is likely to be an uninformative and possibly misleading signal for investment expenditures . We then endeavor to turn this negative theoretical result to positive advantage in resolving a number of empirical problems with Q models, but the modifications dictated by the theory receive little support from the data.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2082.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2082.

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Date of creation: Nov 1986
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as From Journal of Monetary Economics, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 69-87, (January 1987).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2082
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  2. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-24, January.
  3. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  4. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Dividend Taxes, Corporate Investment, and "Q"," NBER Working Papers 0829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
  6. Mussa, Michael L, 1977. "External and Internal Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Aggregate and Firm Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(174), pages 163-78, May.
  7. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
  8. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  9. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  10. Barnea, Amir & Haugen, Robert A & Senbet, Lemma W, 1981. "An Equilibrium Analysis of Debt Financing under Costly Tax Arbitrage and Agency Problems," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(3), pages 569-81, June.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier J. & Wyplosz, Charles, 1981. "An empirical structural model of aggregate demand," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-28.
  12. Thomas J. Sargent, 1980. "Interpreting economic time series," Staff Report 58, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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