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Signaling, Free Cash Flow and "Nonmonotonic" Dividends

  • Kathleen Fuller
  • Benjamin M. Blau

Many argue that dividends signal future earnings or dispose of excess cash. Empirical support is inconclusive, potentially because no model combines both rationales. This paper does. Higher quality firms pay dividends to eliminate the free cash-flow problem, while firms that outsiders perceive as lower quality pay dividends to signal future earnings and reduce the free cash-flow problem. In equilibrium, dividends are nonmonotonic with respect to the signal observed by outsiders; the highest quality firms pay smaller dividends than lower perceived quality firms. The model reconciles the existing literature and generates new empirical predictions that are tested and supported. Copyright (c) 2010, The Eastern Finance Association.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-6288.2009.00236.x
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Article provided by Eastern Finance Association in its journal Financial Review.

Volume (Year): 45 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 21-56

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Handle: RePEc:bla:finrev:v:45:y:2010:i:1:p:21-56
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