Corporate Investments, Cash Flows and Cash Holdings: Evidence from the Oil Industry Before and After the Financial Crisis

Liqiang Chen


This paper studies corporate investments with internal funds when firms face real investment friction such as high adjustment cost and investment planning lag using a sample of U.S. oil companies from 2003 to 2011 before and after the 2008 financial crisis. We show that firms’ capital expenditures are more sensitive to their lagged cash holdings than to their contemporaneous cash flows. By making investments with realized cash holdings, firms can avoid the investment adjustment costs that are incurred when investing with uncertain cash flows. We also show that cash flow policies are affected by liquidity constraints following the 2008 financial crisis: firms build up more cash reserves from cash flows, cut back payouts and raise more debt to maintain cash holdings.

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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