Financial Constraints and Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities: New Research Directions
26 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2002
Date Written: December 12, 2001
A key assumption in the existing theoretical work on firm financial constraints is that these constraints translate entirely into higher costs of funds. This approach poses two types of difficulties to the research on that topic. First, it inadvertently narrows our understanding about financial constraints since, in practice, firms often face credit rationing. Second, it is a matter of debate whether such an approach can deliver unambiguous implications for corporate investment. The current paper develops a theory explaining the relationship between corporate investment and cash flow when firms face credit quantity constraints. We show that when firms' investments and use of external finance are endogenously related, investment-cash flow sensitivities increase as credit constraints are relaxed. From an empirical perspective, our analysis suggests a consistent way of identifying the impact of financial constraints on corporate investment. Our predictions, however, are markedly different from those examined in most empirical studies in this area.
Keywords: investment, cash-flow, investment-cash flow sensitivities, financial constraints, credit rationing
JEL Classification: G31, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation