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Uncertainty and Investment-Cash Flow Insensitivity: Evidence on Cautionary Channel

Kani, Masayo and Nakashima, Kiyotaka (2019): Uncertainty and Investment-Cash Flow Insensitivity: Evidence on Cautionary Channel.

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Abstract

This paper examines two hypotheses regarding how uncertainty affects investment--cash flow sensitivity. In this regard, one hypothesis pertains to the cautionary channel through which investment--cash flow sensitivity decreases as uncertainty increases, and the other relates to the financing constraint channel through which the sensitivity increases. This paper evaluates the impact of uncertainty on investment--cash flow sensitivity by using firm-level data on the Japanese manufacturing industry. We demonstrate that the cautionary effect that makes actual corporate investment decisions unresponsive to the firm's financing conditions becomes dominant under higher uncertainty irrespective of the type of corporate investment---capital investment and research and development (R\&D)---and is more pronounced in firms with fewer cash holdings.

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