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

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • William M. Gentry & Christopher J. Mayer, 2003. "What Can We Learn About the Sensitivity of Investment to Stock Prices with a Better Measure of Tobin's q?," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-03, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2003-03
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    File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/gentryREIT-Investment-Gentry-Mayer-july_03.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Malcolm Baker & Jeremy C. Stein & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2003. "When Does the Market Matter? Stock Prices and the Investment of Equity-Dependent Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 969-1005.
    2. Timothy Erickson & Toni M. Whited, 2000. "Measurement Error and the Relationship between Investment and q," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 1027-1057, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Sinai, Todd & Gyourko, Joseph, 2004. "The asset price incidence of capital gains taxes: evidence from the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and publicly-traded real estate firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1543-1565, July.
    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. 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, February.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manish Gupta, 2011. "Dividends and Cost of Capital - An Empirical Study on REITs," ERES eres2011_56, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    2. Nicolas Kohl & Wolfgang Schaefers, 2012. "Corporate Governance and Market Valuation of Publicly Traded Real Estate Companies: Evidence from Europe," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 362-393, April.
    3. William M. Gentry & Charles M. Jones & Christopher J. Mayer, 2004. "Do Stock Prices Really Reflect Fundamental Values? The Case of REITs," NBER Working Papers 10850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investment; Tobin's q; Real Estate Investment Trusts;

    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

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