cover_DP_2016-7.jpg
published in: IWH Discussion Papers

Asymmetric Investment Responses to Firm-specific Uncertainty

This paper analyzes how firm-specific uncertainty affects firms’ propensity to invest. We measure firm-specific uncertainty as firms’ absolute forecast errors derived from survey data of German manufacturing firms over 2007–2011. In line with the literature, our empirical findings reveal a negative impact of firm-specific uncertainty on investment. However, further results show that the investment response is asymmetric, depending on the size and direction of the forecast error. The investment propensity declines significantly if the realized situation is worse than expected. However, firms do not adjust their investment if the realized situation is better than expected, which suggests that the uncertainty effect counteracts the positive effect due to unexpectedly favorable business conditions. This can be one explanation behind the phenomenon of slow recovery in the aftermath of financial crises. Additional results show that the forecast error is highly concurrent with an ex-ante measure of firm-specific uncertainty we obtain from the survey data. Furthermore, the effect of firm-specific uncertainty is enforced for firms that face a tighter financing situation.

19. March 2016

Authors Manuel Buchholz Lena Tonzer Julian Berner

Suggested Reading

cover_DP_2020-5.jpg

Asymmetric Investment Responses to Firm-specific Forecast Errors

Julian Berner Manuel Buchholz Lena Tonzer

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 5, 2020

Abstract

This paper analyses how firm-specific forecast errors derived from survey data of German manufacturing firms over 2007–2011 affect firms’ investment propensity. Understanding how forecast errors affect firm investment behaviour is key to mitigate economic downturns during and after crisis periods in which forecast errors tend to increase. Our findings reveal a negative impact of absolute forecast errors on investment. Strikingly, asymmetries arise depending on the size and direction of the forecast error. The investment propensity declines if the realised situation is worse than expected. However, firms do not adjust investment if the realised situation is better than expected suggesting that the uncertainty component of the forecast error counteracts positive effects of unexpectedly favorable business conditions. Given that the fraction of firms making positive forecast errors is higher after the peak of the recent financial crisis, this mechanism can be one explanation behind staggered economic growth and slow recovery following crises.

read publication

Whom to contact

For Researchers

For Journalists

Mitglied der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft LogoTotal-Equality-LogoWeltoffen Logo