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Investment efficiency among a cross-section of UK firms Implications for the debate on financing constraints

Nesta Working Paper 12/11
Issued: October 2012


In this paper, we address this policy issue using a stylised methodology that relies on estimates of the cash flow sensitivity of firms' investment, as well as a relatively new methodology that enables us to generate a (0, 1) bounded measure of investment efficiency of firms, i.e., the efficiency with which firms can convert their sales into investment, after controlling for unobserved year- and industry-specific effects. Higher investment efficiency is associated with lower financing constraint. Our results indicate that there is considerable heterogeneity in investment efficiency across firms, during a given year; the range being 0.57-0.82. However, the average investment efficiency measure is similar across years, regions and NACE 2-digit industries. We also do not find discernible patterns in the relationship between investment efficiency and firm size, both before and during the financial crisis. The results suggest that while some firms are clearly less efficient at translating their performance into investment, broad policies targeting firms of a certain size, or those within a particular industry or region, may not successfully address the problem of financing constraint in the United Kingdom. The targeting of firms with financing constraints may have to be considerably more refined, and look at not easily observable factors such as credit history/events and organisational capacity of the firms.


Sumon Kumar Bhaumik, Karen Bonner, Mark Hart


The Nesta Working Paper Series is intended to make available early results of research undertaken or supported by Nesta and its partners in order to elicit comments and suggestions for revisions and to encourage discussion and further debate prior to publication (ISSN 2050-9820). The views expressed in this working paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of Nesta.