Three essays on dividend and payout policy
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation contains 3 essays on dividend/payout policy. In the first essay, using a sample of 76,129 firm-years from 32 countries, I show that both the probability and amount of dividend payments are significantly lower in countries with poor creditor rights. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that poor creditor protection exacerbates the agency costs of debt. Poorly-protected creditors have a strong incentive to protect their investment by restricting dividend payments through formal debt covenants and multiperiod contracting. Firm managers also have an incentive to restrict dividends in order to build reputation capital, thereby reducing moral hazard problems and financing costs. The second essay examines the impact of managerial myopia on dividend catering and is based on US firms. I find strong evidence that the sensitivity of dividend changes to dividend premiums increase with managerial myopia. These findings are robust to firm-characteristics, idiosyncratic risk, taxes, time trends and potential sample selection biases.The last essay documents that increasing use of repurchases largely explains the disappearing dividends puzzle documented by Fama and French (2001). I find no evidence of consistent declining propensity to pay out cash for US firms after controlling for changing firm characteristics. By extending the Fama and French (2001) methodology, I examine the behavior of abnormal payout amount. Results show that most firms pay out 92.8% of the predicted payout amount. These findings are consistent with dividend-repurchase substitution documented by Grullon and Michaely (2002).
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