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Tobin's Q and Financial Policy

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  • Robert S. Chirinko

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert S. Chirinko, 1986. "Tobin's Q and Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 2082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2082
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    1. Sargent, Thomas J, 1981. "Interpreting Economic Time Series," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 213-248, April.
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    8. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
    2. Carruth, Alan & Dickerson, Andrew & Henley, Andrew, 2000. "Econometric Modelling of UK Aggregate Investment: The Role of Profits and Uncertainty," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(3), pages 276-300, June.
    3. Strulik, Holger, 2003. "Capital tax reform, corporate finance, and economic growth and welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 595-615, December.
    4. Richard W. Kopcke, 1995. "Tobin's Q, economic rents, and the optimal stock of capital," Working Papers 95-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Gonzalez, Pedro & Vasconcellos, Geraldo M. & Kish, Richard J., 1998. "Cross-border mergers and acquisitions: The undervaluation hypothesis," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 25-45.
    6. Hennessy, Christopher A. & Levy, Amnon & Whited, Toni M., 2007. "Testing Q theory with financing frictions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 691-717, March.
    7. Michael P. O'Malley, 1996. "Tax exhaustion, firm investment, and leasing; a test of the Q model of investment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Richard W. Kopcke, 1992. "Tobin's Q, economic rents, and the optimal stock of capital," Working Papers 92-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    9. Cuthbertson, K. & Gasparro, D., 1995. "Fixed investment decisions in UK manufacturing: The importance of Tobin's Q, output and debt," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 919-941, May.
    10. Hansen, Sten, 1999. "Agency Costs, Credit Constraints and Corporate Investment," Working Paper Series 79, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).

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