53 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 20, 2009
This paper investigates whether institutional investors influence firms’ investment policies. By virtue of their significant ownership stakes and investment horizons, long-term institutional investors should closely monitor management and thus reduce agency conflicts in investment choices. Using a panel dataset of 2,511 U.S. manufacturing firms that went public between 1980 and 2003, I find that firms with long-term institutional investors tend to have lower capital expenditure than widely-held firms. Investment is reduced precisely in firms that are more exposed to the danger of over-investment: (a) firms that invest too much after controlling for their growth opportunities, financing constraints and industry affiliation, and (b) firms that have few investment opportunities but large cash flows. Most importantly, a reduction in capital expenditure in these firms leads to higher subsequent firm profitability and stock market performance, confirming that institutional investors’ actions aimed at removing over-investment are value-enhancing.
Keywords: Institutional ownership, firm investment, management monitoring, corporate governance
JEL Classification: B2, G31, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation