The Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash

34 Pages Posted: 23 May 2003  

Heitor Almeida

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

Murillo Campello

Cornell University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Michael S. Weisbach

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2003

Abstract

We use the link between financial constraints and a firm's demand for liquidity to develop a new test of the effect of financial constraints on firm policies. The effect of financial constraints can be captured by a firm's propensity to save cash out of incremental cash inflows (the "cash flow sensitivity of cash"). While constrained firms should have a positive cash flow sensitivity of cash, unconstrained firms' cash savings should not be systematically related to cash flows. We estimate the cash flow sensitivity of cash using a large sample of manufacturing firms over the 1971-2000 period and find that firms that are more likely to be financially constrained display a significantly positive cash flow sensitivity of cash, while unconstrained firms do not. Also consistent with our argument, we find that constrained firms' cash flow sensitivity of cash increases during recessions, while unconstrained firms' cash--cash flow sensitivity is unaffected by macroeconomic innovations. The use of cash flow sensitivities of cash appears to be a theoretically justified, empirically useful method to test for the importance of financial constraints.

Keywords: Cash flow sensitivity of cash, financial constraints, cash policy, macroeconomic innovations

JEL Classification: G31, G32, D23, D92

Suggested Citation

Almeida, Heitor and Campello, Murillo and Weisbach, Michael S., The Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash (May 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=345840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.345840

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 (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( 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

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

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