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How Does Being Public Affect Firm Investment? Further Evidence from China

Min Xiao, Jiaxing You and Jingwen Zhao

The International Journal of Accounting, 2017, vol. 52, issue 1, 1-21

Abstract: What role does the stock market play in the allocation of capital? Few studies have examined how being public affects firm investment in emerging markets. This study fills this gap by comparing investment behavior in public and private Chinese firms over the period 2004–2010. We find an overall improved capital allocation of public firms relative to private firms in China. By disentangling the financial constraints effect from the agency effect, we show that public firms are less likely to underinvest when there is cash flow insufficiency and more likely to overinvest when there is free cash flow. We conclude that both effects coexist and that whether or not being public improves investment behavior depends on the net effect of loosening financial constraints and worsening agency conflicts. Further examination shows that financial information plays a limited role in these effects, implying that the association between being public and firm investment may not be attributed to information asymmetry but, rather, institutional arrangement in China.

Keywords: Being public; Firm investment; Financial constraints; Agency conflicts (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:accoun:v:52:y:2017:i:1:p:1-21