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How does private firms' investment respond to uncertainty? Some evidence from the United Kingdom

Abdul Rashid (Department of Economics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK International Institute of Islamic Economics (IIIE), Islamabad, Pakistan)

Journal of Risk Finance

ISSN: 1526-5943

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the extent at which idiosyncratic and financial market uncertainty affect the UK private manufacturing firms' investment decisions.


A firm‐level panel data covering the period from 1999 to 2008 drawn from the Financial Analysis Made Easy database was analyzed using the system‐generalized method of moments (GMM) technique to purge time‐invariant unobserved firm‐specific effects and to mitigate the potential endogeneity issues.


The results from the two‐step robust system‐GMM estimation indicate that firms significantly reduce their capital investment expenditures when uncertainty (measured by either form) increases. The findings also reveal that private firms' investment is more sensitive to idiosyncratic uncertainty than to financial market uncertainty. The results related to firm characteristics suggest that the firm‐specific variables such as debt‐to‐assets ratio, growth of sales and cash flow‐to‐assets ratio are also important in the determination of private firms' investment. The sensitivity analysis confirms that the findings are robust to an alternative method of estimation as well as to an alternative measure of idiosyncratic uncertainty.

Practical implications

The findings of the paper are useful for firms' investment decisions and authorities in designing effective fiscal and monetary policies.


The main value of this study is to investigate the effects of both idiosyncratic and financial market uncertainty on the investment decisions of private limited manufacturing firms.



Rashid, A. (2011), "How does private firms' investment respond to uncertainty? Some evidence from the United Kingdom", Journal of Risk Finance, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 339-347.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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