NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Cross-sectional Tobin's Q

Frederico Belo, Chen Xue, Lu Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 16336
Issued in September 2010
NBER Program(s):   AP   CF

The neoclassical investment model matches cross-sectional asset prices both in first differences and in levels. With ten book-to-market deciles as the testing portfolios, the investment model largely matches the Tobin’s Q spread and the average return spread across the extreme deciles. The parameter estimates imply low adjustment costs around 1.7% of sales. The model’s fit results from three aspects of our econometric strategy: (i) We test the model at the portfolio level to alleviate the impact of measurement errors; (ii) we match the first moment to mitigate the impact of temporal misalignment between asset prices and investment; and (iii) we allow for nonlinear marginal costs of investment. Our evidence suggests that any differences between the intrinsic value of equity and the market value of equity tend to dissipate in the long run.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16336

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