The influence of social capital on financial behaviour of small Norwegian firms
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- Master of Science 
Social capital has been shown to influence investments and cash flow sensitivity in other countries. Still, there are limited amount of research on this topic using Norwegian firms. Due to high level of trust in Norway, the thesis’ implications might differ from other foreign studies. In this master thesis, we show that municipalities with higher levels of trust had significant effect on investment and cash flow sensitivity to investments (CFSI) on Norwegian non-listed firms located in that region. The accounting information is of high quality from a unique database which has accounting data for all Norwegian private firms. We argue that higher levels of trust increase the firms’ investments and increase CFSI. We also provide evidence that where trust and sociability is higher, the effect on investment and CFSI is stronger. Additionally, we suggest that civic engagement increase the effect of trust on investments, while it has little economic robustness on the effect of trust on CFSI. In this master thesis, we research how social capital influence Norwegian nonlisted firm’s investments and cash flow sensitivity to investments (hereafter denoted by CFSI). First, we test the economic significance of the tax reform in 2006 on our models. Thereafter we test our main hypotheses, as outlined in the first sentence above. Finally, we analysed how sociability and civic engagement influence the marginal effect of trust on capital expenditures and cash flow sensitivity to investments. Firstly, trust had no statistically stronger marginal effect after 2005 for neither investments nor CFSI. Because there are no structural difference or implications before and after the tax reform in our models, we continued using a model without inclusion of interaction terms with the tax reform. Secondly, trust had a significant effect on investments, independent of the tax reform. It has a positive influence on investments - in line with previous literature. Trust was statistically significant in the CFSI-model, consequently having a positive impact on CFSI. The result is rather surprising; however, some literature support our findings. Finally, our last analysis assesses the marginal effects of trust on investments and CFSI with different levels of sociability and civic engagement. In areas with higher levels of sociability, the marginal effect of crime rate on investments and CFSI decreases and the marginal effect becomes stronger. However, the effect of sociability is only significant up to roughly the 90th- 95th percentile and 95th percentile for sociability for investments and CFSI, respectively. Accordingly, in areas with very high sociability, sociability is expected to have no effect on the marginal effect of crime. Civic engagement showed to have a significant effect on the marginal effect of crime on investments for any value during our whole sample period (according to a 90% confidence interval), and it decreased the marginal effect (marginal effect became more negative – hence stronger) of crime on investments - which was negative. Additionally, civic engagement proved in this thesis to slightly increase the marginal effect of crime on CFSI. Civic engagement had no significant effect when levels were very high. However, its economic significance is limited. The results for the investment-models are pleasing and in line with expectations and previous research papers, while the CFSI-models gave us results that were different from our expectations, but somewhat in line with previous research.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Business law, tax and accounting - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2017