Financial Frictions, Investment and Tobin's q
We develop a model of investment with financial constraints and use it to investigate the relation between investment and Tobin's q. A firm is financed partly by insiders, who control its assets, and partly by outside investors. When their wealth is scarce, insiders earn a rate of return higher than the market rate of return, i.e., they receive a quasi-rent on invested capital. This rent is priced into the value of the firm, so Tobin's q is driven by two forces: changes in the value of invested capital, and changes in the value of the insiders' future rents per unit of capital. This weakens the correlation between q and investment, relative to the frictionless benchmark. We present a calibrated version of the model, which, due to this effect, generates realistic correlations between investment, q, and cash flow.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research or the Executive Board of Sveriges Riksbank.