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What Can We Learn About the Sensitivity of Investment to Stock Prices with a Better Measure of Tobin's q?

This paper examines the responsiveness of investment to q (i.e., the ratio of a firm's market value to the replacement cost of its assets) using data on a unique type of firm: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). For REITs, we have high quality estimates of the net asset value of the firm that we use to create relatively accurate measures of Tobin's q. In addition, REITs have institutional features that mitigate some of the complications faced by previous studies. We have three main results. First, there is little evidence of a statistical link between REIT investment and a traditional accounting-based measure of q. Second, REIT investment is highly sensitive to estimates of q that are based on analysts' appraisals of asset value. A REIT whose NAV-based q ratio rises from 1.0 to 1.1 will increase its assets by 4.3 percent in the next year. Third, the difference between the appraisal-based measure of q and the traditional accounting based measure typically increases with the age of the firm's assets and varies across types of properties. These results suggest that measurement error in q can lead to appreciable downward biases in investment sensitivities, even in an industry that seems to meet many of the assumptions in Tobin's original paper, but that Tobin's investment model performs well with a better measure of q.

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/gentryREIT-Investment-Gentry-Mayer-july_03.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2003-03.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
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Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2003-03
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  1. William M. Getry & Deen Kemsley & Christopher J. Mayer, 2003. "Dividend Taxes and Share Prices: Evidence from Real Estate Investment Trusts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(1), pages 261-282, 02.
  2. Malcolm Baker & Jeremy C. Stein & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2002. "When Does the Market Matter? Stock Prices and the Investment of Equity-Dependent Firms," NBER Working Papers 8750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & Stephen D. Oliner, 1999. "Investment behavior, observable expectations, and internal funds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Janice C. Eberly & Andrew B. Abel, 2004. "Q Theory Without Adjustment Costs & Cash Flow Effects Without Financing Constraints," 2004 Meeting Papers 205, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  6. Todd Sinai & Joseph Gyourko, . "The Asset Price Incidence of Capital Gains Taxes: Evidence from the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and Publicly-Traded Real Estate Firms," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 311, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen & Devereux, Michael & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 1992. "Investment and Tobin's Q: Evidence from company panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 233-257.
  8. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
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