Foreign shareholders, relative foreign policy uncertainty and corporate cash holdings

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International Review of Financial Analysis


Studies have shown that foreign investors hedge risks stemming from economic and political uncertainty in the home country through outward investment. This paper studies how foreign investors' home country risk affects their overseas investment and the host country firms' corporate cash holdings. We find that relative foreign EPU, defined as the difference between foreign investors' home country EPU and the host country of investment EPU, negatively impacts the host country firms' cash holdings through their influences on managerial decision-making. This negative relationship arises from firms' precautionary and transaction motives as foreign investors perceive lower corporate risk and better investment opportunities in the host country firms. Good corporate governance is also instrumental in yielding this negative relationship. The reduction in cash holdings due to high relative foreign EPU is more pronounced if foreign investors' home country legal environment is weaker, the two countries are further apart, and there is little trade partnership between them.

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