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Dividend Policy and the Organization of Capital Markets

Опубликовано на портале: 16-06-2006
Journal of Multinational Financial Management. 2003.  Vol. 13. No. 2. P. 101-122. 
The hypothesis that dividend policy serves as a signaling mechanism and also serves to control managerial opportunism is usually supported by empirical studies showing that firms in developed countries (e.g. the USA) smooth their dividends as noted by Lintner (Am. Econ. Rev. 46 (1956) 97). However, the theoretical justification for these results largely stems from models based on arms length contracting in capital markets. In contrast, most emerging markets have a bank centered financial system, where contracting is not normally at arms length. Consequently, this paper compares the dividend policy of companies from eight emerging markets to the policies adopted by 100 US firms over the same period. Firms in these emerging markets have more unstable dividend payments than their US counterparts. Regression results indicate that dividends are much less sensitive to past dividends. These results support the substitute view of dividend policy on the premise that the institutional structures of these developing countries make dividends a less viable mechanism for signaling and for reducing agency costs than for their US counterparts operating in more highly developed arms length capital markets.
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