Changes in Cash Holdings Around the S&P 500 Additions
21 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2011 Last revised: 26 Mar 2013
Date Written: March 14, 2013
We analyze the changes in cash holding policies of S&P 500 firms before and after their inclusion in the index. One year after inclusion, the mean industry-adjusted cash holdings of these firms decline by nearly 32% from the year before inclusion. Several factors explain this decline. The precautionary motive for cash subsides due to these firms becoming more visible, less uncertain, and less constrained to raise cheap external capital. Corporate governance deteriorates after inclusion due to increased managerial entrenchment, which leads to a reduction in cash as suggested by the free cash flow hypothesis. Most index firms face diminishing investment opportunities and decreasing capital expenditures, which implies a lesser need for cash holdings related to the transaction motive.
Keywords: cash holdings, corporate governance, liquidity policy, S&P 500 Index
JEL Classification: G31, G34
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