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A Tax-Based Test of the Dividend Signaling Hypothesis

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  • Bernheim, B Douglas
  • Wantz, Adam

Abstract

The authors propose and implement a new test of the dividend signaling hypothesis. Dividend signaling models generally imply that an increase in dividend taxation should increase the share price response per dollar of dividends (or 'bang-for-the-buck'). Many other dividend-preference theories have the opposite implication. An analysis of recent variations in tax policy reveals a strong positive relation between dividend tax rates and the bang-for-the-buck. Additional evidence on the relation between the bang-for-the-buck and other variables that are related to the marginal cost of paying dividends provides further support for dividend signaling. Copyright 1995 by American Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 85 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 532-51

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:85:y:1995:i:3:p:532-51

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  1. Watts, Ross, 1973. "The Information Content of Dividends," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 191-211, April.
  2. Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, 1988. "Do Taxes Affect Corporate Financing Decisions?," NBER Working Papers 2632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Charest, Guy, 1978. "Dividend information, stock returns and market efficiency-II," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2-3), pages 297-330.
  4. Ambarish, Ramasastry & John, Kose & Williams, Joseph, 1987. " Efficient Signalling with Dividends and Investments," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 321-43, June.
  5. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  6. Ofer, Aharon R & Siegel, Daniel R, 1987. " Corporate Financial Policy, Information, and Market Expectations: An Empirical Investigation of Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 889-911, September.
  7. Brown, Stephen J. & Warner, Jerold B., 1985. "Using daily stock returns : The case of event studies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 3-31, March.
  8. Hakansson, Nils H, 1982. " To Pay or Not to Pay Dividend," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(2), pages 415-28, May.
  9. Brickley, James A., 1983. "Shareholder wealth, information signaling and the specially designated dividend : An empirical study," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 187-209, August.
  10. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1990. "Tax Policy and the Dividend Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 3434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Asquith, Paul & Mullins, David W, Jr, 1983. "The Impact of Initiating Dividend Payments on Shareholders' Wealth," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(1), pages 77-96, January.
  12. Laub, P Michael, 1976. "On the Informational Content of Dividends," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 73-80, January.
  13. Poterba, James M. & Summers, Lawrence H., 1983. "Dividend taxes, corporate investment, and `Q'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 135-167, November.
  14. Alex Kane & Young Ki Lee & Alan J. Marcus, 1983. "Earnings and Dividend Announcements is there a Corroboration Effect?," NBER Working Papers 1248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Miller, Merton H & Rock, Kevin, 1985. " Dividend Policy under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1031-51, September.
  16. Pettit, R Richardson, 1972. "Dividend Announcements, Security Performance, and Capital Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 27(5), pages 993-1007, December.
  17. Nils H. Hakansson., 1982. "To Pay or Not to Pay Dividends," Research Program in Finance Working Papers 124, University of California at Berkeley.
  18. Shefrin, Hersh M. & Statman, Meir, 1984. "Explaining investor preference for cash dividends," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 253-282, June.
  19. Balcer, Yves & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. " Effects of Capital Gains Taxation on Life-Cycle Investment and Portfolio Management," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(3), pages 743-58, July.
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