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Determinants of Cyclical Aggregate Dividend Behavior


  • Samih Antoine Azar

    () (Faculty of Business Administration & Economics, Haigazian University)


The purpose of this paper is to find the determinants of cyclical real aggregate dividends. In the literature, dividends are hypothesized to be proportional to real permanent earnings, with a smoothing factor that is between zero and +1. An additional postulate is that dividends adjust to a target dividend payout ratio. Managers will only change dividends if they can be sure that permanent earnings have increased. This allows for the payout ratio to be persistent and avoids reversing the payout decision if temporary earnings fall. The contribution of this paper is six-fold. The first is to generate cyclical changes of the variables by an appropriate filtering rule, a rule that is a common usage in macroeconomics. The second is to consider two proxies for real permanent earnings: real stock market prices, keeping real interest rates constant, and long term real interest rates, keeping market prices constant. The third is to adjust the estimation procedure for conditional heteroscedasticity. The fourth is to test whether transitory real earnings have an impact on dividends. The fifth is to find out if there are symmetrical effects of positive and negative earnings shocks. The last is to carry out stability tests over different time periods. One of the major findings is that, the three independent variables--stock market prices, interest rates, and transitory earnings, all have a significant effect on dividends, and that the smoothing factor is surprisingly the same for all three independent variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Samih Antoine Azar, 2012. "Determinants of Cyclical Aggregate Dividend Behavior," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 71-78, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bap:journl:120306

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Garrett, Ian & Priestley, Richard, 2000. "Dividend Behaviour and Dividend Signaling," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(02), pages 173-189, June.
    2. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
    3. Marsh, Terry A & Merton, Robert C, 1987. "Dividend Behavior for the Aggregate Stock Market," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 1-40, January.
    4. Pan, Ming-Shiun, 2001. "Aggregate Dividend Behavior and Permanent Earnings Hypothesis," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 23-38, February.
    5. Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-436, June.
    6. Doron Nissim, 2001. "Dividend Changes and Future Profitability," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2111-2133, December.
    7. Jarque, Carlos M. & Bera, Anil K., 1980. "Efficient tests for normality, homoscedasticity and serial independence of regression residuals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 255-259.
    8. Benartzi, Shlomo & Michaely, Roni & Thaler, Richard H, 1997. " Do Changes in Dividends Signal the Future or the Past?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1007-1034, July.
    9. Kao, Chihwa & Wu, Chunchi, 1994. "Tests of Dividend Signaling Using the Marsh-Merton Model: A Generalized Friction Approach," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(1), pages 45-68, January.
    10. Engle, Robert F, 1982. "Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity with Estimates of the Variance of United Kingdom Inflation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 987-1007, July.
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    More about this item


    Hodrick-Prescott de-trending method; Aggregate dividend behavior; Current and permanent aggregate earnings; Present value constraint; Real interest rates; Stationarity; Conditional heteroscedasticity;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy


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