Corporate Investment, Cash Flow Level And Market Imperfections

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The authors analyze firms' investment behavior, differentiating firms according to the cash flow levels they experience during their lifecycles. They consequently consider the firm as the basic unit and not firm-year observations. Firms with persistent positive cash flow show higher investment-cash flow sensitivity than firms with persistent negative cash flow. Independent of the industry they belong to, older firms with positive cash flow shows a weaker sensitivity than younger firms with positive cash flow. Firms with persistent negative cash flow are neither younger nor smaller than their counterparts, and their cash flow coefficient can be positive, negative or statistically insignificant. Thus, classifying firms by age or size may not yield a group of firms with similar financial structures.