Essays in corporate finance

Zhang, Xiao (2016) Essays in corporate finance. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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China has been growing rapidly over the last decades. The private sector is the driving force of this growth. This thesis focuses on firm-level investment and cash holdings in China, and the chapters are structured around the following issues.

1. Why do private firms grow so fast when they are more financially constrained?

In Chapter 3, we use a panel of over 600,000 firms of different ownership types from 1998 to 2007 to find the link between investment opportunities and financial constraints. The main finding indicates that private firms, which are more likely to be financially constrained, have high investment-investment opportunity sensitivity. Furthermore, this sensitivity is relatively lower for state-owned firms in China. This shows that constrained firms value investment opportunities more than unconstrained firms.

To better measure investment opportunities, we attempt to improve the Q model by considering supply and demand sides simultaneously. When we capture q from the supply side and the demand side, we find that various types of firms respond differently towards different opportunity shocks.

2. In China, there are many firms whose cash flow is far greater than their fixed capital investment. Why is their investment still sensitive to cash flow?

To explain this, in Chapter 4, we attempt to introduce a new channel to find how cash flow affects firm-level investment. We use a dynamic structural model and take uncertainty and ambiguity aversion into consideration. We find that uncertainty and ambiguity aversion will make investment less sensitive to investment opportunities. However, investment-cash flow sensitivity will increase when uncertainty is high. This suggests that investment cash flow sensitivities could still be high even when the firms are not financially constrained.

3. Why do firms in China hold so much cash? How can managers’ confidence affect corporate cash holdings?

In Chapter 5, we analyse corporate cash holdings in China. Firms hold cash for precautionary reasons, to hedge frictions such as financing constraints and uncertainty. In addition, firms may act differently if they are confident or not. In order to determine how confidence shocks affect precautionary savings, we develop a dynamic model taking financing constraints, uncertainty, adjustment costs and confidence shocks into consideration.

We find that without confidence shocks, firms will save money in bad times and invest in good times to maximise their value. However, if managers lose their confidence, they tend to save money in good times to use in bad times, to hedge risks and financing constraint problems. This can help explain why people find different results on the cash flow sensitivity of cash. Empirically, we use a panel of Chinese listed firms. The results show that firms in China save more money in good times, and the confidence shock channel can significantly affect firms’ cash holdings policy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Corporate finance, investment, cash holdings, China.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
Supervisor's Name: Ding, Dr. Sai and Spaliara, Dr. Marina and Tsoukalas, Professor John
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Xiao Zhang
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7639
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2016 13:43
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2016 07:45

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