Cash Holdings, Market Frictions and Monetary Policy: An Investigation of Increase in Cash Holdings

SSRN Electronic Journal 06/2011; DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2076414


We investigate the secular increase in the corporate cash holding over the period 1980-2006. We show that along with firm characteristic–related variables, monetary policy and banking structure have a significant bearing on corporate cash holdings, as they determine the opportunity cost of holding cash as well as access to cash. Specifically, we establish that the need to hold cash was complemented by the ability to hold cash during the given period due to low opportunity cost. We also investigate the role of cash as collateral for financially constrained firms. Our findings allow us to provide insight into the cross-sectional variation.

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    • "The inverse relationship between business groups and cash holdings is more pronounced among NSOEs than among SOEs. In addition to micro-level firm characteristics, macroeconomic factors such as monetary policy affect firms' cash-holding decisions (Faulkender and Wang, 2006;Zaman, 2011;Harford et al., 2012). The monetary transmission mechanism is particularly important for firms. "
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    ABSTRACT: We examine whether business groups’ influence on cash holdings depends on ownership. Group affiliation can increase firms’ agency costs or benefit firms by providing an internal capital market, especially in transition economies characterized by weak investor protection and difficult external capital acquisition. A hand-collected dataset of Chinese firms reveals that group affiliation decreases cash holdings, alleviating the free-cash-flow problem of agency costs. State ownership and control of listed firms moderate this benefit, which is more pronounced when the financial market is less liquid. Group affiliation facilitates related-party transactions, increases debt capacity and decreases investment-cash-flow sensitivity and overinvestment. In transitional economies, privately controlled firms are more likely to benefit from group affiliation than state-controlled firms propped up by the government.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · China Journal of Accounting Research