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Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment: Response to Kaplan and Zingales

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  • Steven M. Fazzari
  • R. Glenn Hubbard
  • Bruce C. Petersen

Abstract

Kaplan and Zingales (1995, hereafter KZ) criticize Fazzari, Hubbard and Petersen (1988, hereafter FHP) and much ensuing research that uses cross-sectional differences in firm behavior to test for financing constraints on investment. This reply identifies flaws in the KZ analysis. The questions KZ raise have been considered extensively and rigorously in the literature (most of which is not addressed in KZ), with results broadly similar to those of FHP. We also challenge both of KZ's main results. First, their finding that most of the FHP firms are not financially constrained relies on an inappropriate operational definition of what it means to be constrained. Their definition ignores the incentives for firms that operate in imperfect capital markets to accumulate stocks of cash or maintain unused debt capacity to offset partially shocks to the flow of internal finance. Second, the KZ regression results (lower sensitivity of investment to cash flow for firms classified as constrained than for those classified as unconstrained) are uninformative. Their classification approach relies on possibly self- serving managerial statements that may present a distorted picture of firm's availability of finance. It also employs misleading criteria to make unrealistically fine distinctions in the degree of financing constraints, and emphasizes financial distress rather than financing constraints. Finally, econometric problems affect the interpretation of the KZ regressions. We conclude that the KZ findings do not contradict the interpretation of the empirical results in FHP and subsequent research.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1996. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment: Response to Kaplan and Zingales," NBER Working Papers 5462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5462 Note: CF
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 1995. "Do Financing Constraints Explain Why Investment is Correlated with Cash Flow?," NBER Working Papers 5267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Behr Andreas & Bellgardt Egon, 2000. "Investitionsverhalten und Liquiditätsrestringiertheit. Eine Sensitivitätsanalyse / Investment Behaviour and Liquidity Constraints. A Sensitivity Analysis," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 220(3), pages 257-283, June.
    2. Manuela Goretti & Marcos R Souto, 2013. "Macro-Financial Implications of Corporate (De)Leveraging in the Euro Area Periphery," IMF Working Papers 13/154, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Perotti, Enrico C. & Vesnaver, Luka, 2004. "Enterprise finance and investment in listed Hungarian firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 73-87, March.
    4. Vivek Ghosal & Prakash Loungani, 1996. "Firm size and the impact of profit-margin uncertainty on investment: do financing constraints play a role?," International Finance Discussion Papers 557, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Winter, Joachim, 1998. "Does Firms` Financial Status Affect Plant-Level Investment and Exit Decision," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 98-48, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    6. Jean-Bernard Chatelain, 2003. "Structural Modelling of Financial Constraints on Investment: Where Do We Stand?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00112522, HAL.
    7. Allard Bruinshoofd, 2003. "Corporate Investment and Financing Constraints: Connections with Cash management," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 110, Netherlands Central Bank.
    8. Allayannis, George & Mozumdar, Abon, 2004. "The impact of negative cash flow and influential observations on investment-cash flow sensitivity estimates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 901-930, May.
    9. Das, Pranab Kumar, 2008. "Fundamentals, financial factors and firm investment in India: A Panel VAR approach," MPRA Paper 41612, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & Stephen D. Oliner, 2006. "Investment Behavior, Observable Expectations, and Internal Funds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 796-810, June.
    11. Akiomi Yutaka Horiba & Kazuo Yoshida, 2003. "Determinants Of The Initial Decisions By Japanese Firmsto Undertake Foreign Direct Investment," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 03-09, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    12. Ozkan, Aydin & Ozkan, Neslihan, 2004. "Corporate cash holdings: An empirical investigation of UK companies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 2103-2134, September.
    13. Beata S. Javorcik & Mariana Spatareanu, 2008. "Liquidity Constraints and Linkages with Multinationals," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2008-005, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
    14. François-Serge Lhabitant & Olivier Tinguely, 2002. "Financial Constraints and Investment: the Swiss Case," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 138(II), pages 137-163, June.
    15. Boissay, Frédéric, 2001. "Credit rationing, output gap, and business cycles," Working Paper Series 0087, European Central Bank.
    16. Elisabetta Bertero & Laura Rondi, 1998. "Managerial discretion and investment decisions of state-owned firms: Evidence from a panel of italian companies," CERIS Working Paper 199807, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY -NOW- Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY.
    17. Vlad Manole & Mariana Spatareanu, 2009. "Exporting, Capital Investment and Financial Constraints," LICOS Discussion Papers 25209, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    18. Jean-Bernard Chatelain, 2002. "Structural modelling of investment and financial constraints: Where do we stand?," Working Paper Research 28, National Bank of Belgium.
    19. Wang, Peng-fei & Wen, Yi, 2006. "Another look at sticky prices and output persistence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2533-2552, December.
    20. Fagiolo G. & Roventini A., 2004. "Animal Spirits, Lumpy Investment, and the Business Cycle," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 109, Society for Computational Economics.
    21. Hobdari, Bersant & Jones, Derek C. & Mygind, Niels, 2009. "Capital investment and determinants of financial constraints in Estonia," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 344-359, December.
    22. Santiago Carbó Valverde & Francisco Rodríguez-Fernández & Gregory F. Udell, 2008. "Bank lending, financing constraints and SME investment," Working Paper Series WP-08-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    23. Laura Rondi & Alessandro Sembenelli, 1997. "Investment, Financial Factors and Business Fluctuations," CERIS Working Paper 199717, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY -NOW- Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY.
    24. Gianni La Cava, 2005. "Financial Constraints, the User Cost of Capital and Corporate Investment in Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2005-12, Reserve Bank of Australia.

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    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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