Corporate Demand for Liquidity

44 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2002 Last revised: 19 Nov 2002

See all articles by Heitor Almeida

Heitor Almeida

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Murillo Campello

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael S. Weisbach

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: October 2002

Abstract

This paper proposes a theory of corporate liquidity demand and provides new evidence on corporate cash policies. Firms have access to valuable investment opportunities, but potentially cannot fund them with the use of external finance. Firms that are financially unconstrained can undertake all positive NPV projects regardless of their cash position, so their cash positions are irrelevant. In contrast, firms facing financial constraints have an optimal cash position determined by the value of today's investments relative to the expected value of future investments. The model predicts that constrained firms will save a positive fraction of incremental cash flows, while unconstrained firms will not. We also consider the impact of Jensen (1986) style overinvestment on the model's equilibrium, and derive conditions under which overinvestment affects corporate cash policies. We test the model's implications on a large sample of publicly-traded manufacturing firms over the 1981-2000 period, and find that firms classified as financially constrained save a positive fraction of their cash flows, while firms classified as unconstrained do not. Moreover, constrained firms save a higher fraction of cash inflows during recessions. These results are robust to the use of alternative proxies for financial constraints, and to several changes in the empirical specification. We also find weak evidence consistent with our agency-based model of corporate liquidity.

Suggested Citation

Almeida, Heitor and Campello, Murillo and Weisbach, Michael S., Corporate Demand for Liquidity (October 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9253. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=336369

Heitor Almeida

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

515 East Gregory Drive
4037 BIF
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-3332704 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.illinois.edu/FacultyProfile/faculty_profile.aspx?ID=11357

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Murillo Campello

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

114 East Avenue
369 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Faculty-And-Research/Profile.aspx?id=mnc35

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Michael S. Weisbach (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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