A Unified Theory of Tobin's Q, Corporate Investment, Financing, and Risk Management

57 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2009 Last revised: 25 Jul 2022

See all articles by Patrick Bolton

Patrick Bolton

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Hui Chen

Massachusetts Institute of Technology; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Neng Wang

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

This paper proposes a simple homogeneous dynamic model of investment and corporate risk management for a financially constrained firm. Following Froot, Scharfstein, and Stein (1993), we define a corporation's risk management as the coordination of investment and financing decisions. In our model, corporate risk management involves internal liquidity management, financial hedging, and investment. We determine a firm's optimal cash, investment, asset sales, credit line, external equity finance, and payout policies as functions of the following key parameters: 1) the firm's earnings growth and cash-flow risk; 2) the external cost of financing; 3) the firm's liquidation value; 4) the opportunity cost of holding cash; 5) investment adjustment and asset sales costs; and 6) the return and covariance characteristics of hedging assets the firm can invest in. The optimal cash inventory policy takes the form of a double-barrier policy where i) cash is paid out to shareholders only when the cash-capital ratio hits an endogenous upper barrier, and ii) external funds are raised only when the firm has depleted its cash. In between the two barriers, the firm adjusts its capital expenditures, asset sales, and hedging policies. Several new insights emerge from our analysis. For example, we find an inverse relation between marginal Tobin's q and investment when the firm draws on its credit line. We also find that financially constrained firms may have a lower equity beta in equilibrium because these firms tend to hold higher precautionary cash inventories.

Suggested Citation

Bolton, Patrick and Chen, Hui and Wang, Neng, A Unified Theory of Tobin's Q, Corporate Investment, Financing, and Risk Management (April 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14845, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1372949

Patrick Bolton (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Economics ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/pbolton/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Hui Chen

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-324-3896 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Neng Wang

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Finance ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER) ( email )

BIZ 2 Storey 4 04-05
1 Business Link
Singapore, 117592
Singapore

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
201
Abstract Views
2,228
rank
16,995
PlumX Metrics