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The Effects of Taxes on Market Responses to Dividend Announcements and Payments: What Can we Learn from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut?

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  • Raj Chetty
  • Joseph Rosenberg
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of capital gains and dividend taxes on excess returns around announcements of dividend increases and ex-dividend days for U.S. corporations. Consistent with standard no-arbitrage conditions, we find that the ex-dividend day premium increased from 2002 to 2004 when the dividend tax rate was cut. Consistent with the signalling theory of dividends, we also find that the excess return for dividend increase announcements went down from 2002 to 2004. However, these findings are very sensitive to the years chosen for the pre-reform control period. Semi-parametric graphical analysis using data since 1962 shows that the relationship between tax rates and ex-day and announcement day premia is very fragile and sensitive to sample period choices. Strong year-to-year fluctuations in the ex-day and announcement day premia greatly reduce statistical power, making it impossible to credibly detect responses even around large tax reforms. The important non-tax factors affecting these premia must therefore be understood before progress can be made in evaluating the role of taxation in market responses.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11452.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11452

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  1. Bernhardt, Dan & Robertson, Fiona J., 1993. "Testing Dividend Signalling Models," Working Papers 828, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Skinner, Douglas J., 2000. "Special dividends and the evolution of dividend signaling," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 309-354, September.
  3. Lakonishok, Josef & Vermaelen, Theo, 1983. " Tax Reform and Ex-Dividend Day Behavior," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1157-79, September.
  4. Eades, Kenneth M. & Hess, Patrick J. & Kim, E. Han, 1984. "On interpreting security returns during the ex-dividend period," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 3-34, March.
  5. Barclay, Michael J., 1987. "Dividends, taxes, and common stock prices : The ex-dividend day behavior of common stock prices before the income tax," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 31-44, September.
  6. Gustavo Grullon & Roni Michaely, 2002. "Dividends, Share Repurchases, and the Substitution Hypothesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1649-1684, 08.
  7. Elton, Edwin J & Gruber, Martin J, 1970. "Marginal Stockholder Tax Rates and the Clientele Effect," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 52(1), pages 68-74, February.
  8. Bernheim, B Douglas & Wantz, Adam, 1995. "A Tax-Based Test of the Dividend Signaling Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 532-51, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Michaely, Roni & Vila, Jean-Luc, 1995. "Investors' Heterogeneity, Prices, and Volume around the Ex-Dividend Day," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(02), pages 171-198, June.
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