Capital budgeting research and practice: The state of the art

Donald K. Clancy, Denton Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to review the capital budgeting literature over the past decade.

Design/methodology: Specifically, over the years 2004-2013, we review works appearing in the major academic journals in accounting, finance, and management. Further, we review the specialized academic journals in management accounting. We examine the frequency of articles by journal and year published, the type of research method applied, and the topic area studied. We then review the research findings by topic area.

Findings: We find 110 articles appearing in the selected journals. While the articles increase in frequency, the research methods applied are predominantly analytical and archival in nature with relatively few experiments, case studies, or surveys. Some progress is observed for capital budgeting techniques and new methods for structuring uncertainty. The studies find that the size of capital budgets is about right for companies with high financial reporting quality, for liquid companies, during periods of normal cash flow, when the budget is financed by equity, for companies when they first go public or first go private. Tax rates and financial reporting methods for depreciation and tax expenses distort capital budgets. Organization structure and performance measurement can distort capital budgeting. Individual differences, especially optimism and honesty, can influence capital budgeting decisions.

Limitations and implications: This review is limited to the major journals in accounting, finance, and management; and the specialized journals in management accounting. There is much research to be done on capital budgeting, especially case studies of actual practice and experiments related to individual and group decision processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-161
Number of pages45
JournalAdvances in Management Accounting
StatePublished - 2014


  • Capital budgeting
  • Financial reporting quality
  • Investment efficiency
  • Organization structure
  • Performance measurement
  • Risk and uncertainty


Dive into the research topics of 'Capital budgeting research and practice: The state of the art'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this