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CEP Discussion Paper
Investment, R&D and Financial Constraints in Britain and Germany
Stephen Bond, Dietmar Harhoff and John Van Reenen
December 2003
Paper No' CEPDP0595:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: L13; O31; C25

Tags: investment; r&d; cash flow; financial constraints; panel data

This paper tests for the importance of cash flow on investment in fixed capital and R&D using firm-level panel data in two countries between 1985 and 1994. For German firms, cash flow is not informative in simple econometric models of fixed investment or R&D. In identical specifications for British firms, cash flow is informative about investment, although not about the level of R&D spending conditional on the R&D participation decision. In the UK, we also find that investment is less sensitive to cash flow for R&Dperforming firms, and that cash flow predicts whether firms perform R&D or not. We confirm that these differences do not simply reflect a greater role for current cash flow in forecasting future sales. These results suggest that financial constraints are more significant in Britain, that they affect the decision to engage in R&D rather than the level of R&D spending by participants, and that consequently the British firms that do engage in R&D are a self-selected group where financing constraints tend to be less binding.