NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers and Publications by Kathleen Kahle

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

November 2016Is the U.S. public corporation in trouble?
with René M. Stulz: w22857
We examine the current state of the U.S. public corporation and how it has evolved over the last 40 years. After falling by 50 percent since its peak in 1997, the number of public corporations is now smaller than 40 years ago. These corporations are now much larger and over the last twenty years have become much older; they invest differently, as the average firm invests more in R&D than it spends on capital expenditures; and compared to the 1990s, the ratio of investment to assets is lower, especially for large firms. Public firms have record high cash holdings and, in most recent years, the average firm has more cash than long-term debt. Measuring profitability by the ratio of earnings to assets, the average firm is less profitable, but that is driven by smaller firms. Earnings of public...
August 2010Financial Policies and the Financial Crisis: How Important Was the Systemic Credit Contraction for Industrial Corporations?
with René M. Stulz: w16310
Although firm financial policies were affected by a credit contraction during the recent financial crisis, the impact of increased uncertainty and decreased growth opportunities was stronger than that of the credit contraction per se. From the start of the financial crisis (third quarter of 2007) to its peak (first quarter of 2009), both large and investment-grade non-financial firms show no evidence of suffering from an exceptional systemic credit contraction. Instead of decreasing their cash holdings as would be expected with a temporarily impaired credit supply, these firms increase their cash holdings sharply (by 17.8% in the case of investment-grade firms) after the fall of Lehman. Though small and unrated firms have exceptionally low net debt issuance at the peak of the crisis, their...
September 2006Why Do U.S. Firms Hold So Much More Cash Than They Used To?
with Thomas W. Bates, Rene M. Stulz: w12534
The average cash to assets ratio for U.S. industrial firms increases by 129% from 1980 to 2004. Because of this increase in the average cash ratio, American firms at the end of the sample period can pay back their debt obligations with their cash holdings, so that the average firm has no leverage when leverage is measured by net debt. This change in cash ratios and net debt is the result of a secular trend rather than the outcome of the recent buildup in cash holdings of some large firms. It is concentrated among firms that do not pay dividends. The average cash ratio increases over the sample period because the cash flow of American firms has become riskier, these firms hold fewer inventories and accounts receivable, and the typical firm spends more on R&D. The precautionary motive for ca...

Published: Thomas W. Bates & Kathleen M. Kahle & René M. Stulz, 2009. "Why Do U.S. Firms Hold So Much More Cash than They Used To?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(5), pages 1985-2021, October. citation courtesy of

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