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Is dividend smoothing universal?: New insights from a comparative study of dividend policies in Hong Kong and the U.S

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  • Chemmanur, Thomas J.
  • He, Jie
  • Hu, Gang
  • Liu, Helen

Abstract

In this paper, we develop new insights about the dynamics of corporate dividend policy by performing the natural experiment of comparing corporate dividend policies in Hong Kong and the U.S., two economies where the tax regime and equity ownership structure are significantly different. Our empirical results can be summarized as follows. First, a test of the Lintner model reveals that the extent of dividend smoothing by firms in Hong Kong is significantly less than those in the U.S. Second, the signaling effects of dividend changes on stock returns are stronger in the U.S. compared to those in Hong Kong. Third, our logit analysis of the determinants of dividend changes indicates that, while the lagged dividend yield significantly affects dividend changes in both countries in the same fashion, prior year stock returns have opposite effects on dividend changes in the two countries. Finally, the extent of dividend smoothing is not systematically related to blockholder equity ownership in either country. Overall, our results suggest that, compared to U.S. firms, Hong Kong firms pursue a more flexible dividend policy commensurate with earnings, and that the differences between the dividend policies of firms in the two countries are consistent with the signaling implications of the differences in the tax regime across the two countries.

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  • Chemmanur, Thomas J. & He, Jie & Hu, Gang & Liu, Helen, 2010. "Is dividend smoothing universal?: New insights from a comparative study of dividend policies in Hong Kong and the U.S," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 413-430, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:16:y:2010:i:4:p:413-430
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. He, Wen & Ng, Lilian & Zaiats, Nataliya & Zhang, Bohui, 2017. "Dividend policy and earnings management across countries," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 267-286.
    2. Jeong, Jinho, 2013. "Determinants of dividend smoothing in emerging market: The case of Korea," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 76-88.
    3. Michael A. Goldstein & Abhinav Goyal & Brian M. Lucey & Cal B. Muckley, 2015. "The Global Preference for Dividends in Declining Markets," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 575-609, November.
    4. repec:eee:finlet:v:23:y:2017:i:c:p:133-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:finana:v:61:y:2019:i:c:p:255-273 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. De Cesari, Amedeo & Huang-Meier, Winifred, 2015. "Dividend changes and stock price informativeness," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-17.
    7. repec:pra:mprapa:37983 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Benavides, Julian & Berggrun, Luis & Perafan, Hector, 2016. "Dividend payout policies: Evidence from Latin America," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 197-210.
    9. Gao, Lei & Zhang, Joseph H., 2015. "Firms’ earnings smoothing, corporate social responsibility, and valuation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 108-127.
    10. Andres, Christian & Doumet, Markus & Fernau, Erik & Theissen, Erik, 2015. "The Lintner model revisited: Dividends versus total payouts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 56-69.
    11. repec:eee:finana:v:63:y:2019:i:c:p:58-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Goyal, Abhinav & Muckley, Cal, 2013. "Cash dividends and investor protection in Asia," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 31-43.
    13. repec:eee:glofin:v:34:y:2017:i:c:p:1-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Karlo Kauko, 2016. "Does Opaqueness Make Equity Capital Expensive for Banks?," Revista de EconomĂ­a del Rosario, Universidad del Rosario, vol. 17(2), pages 203-227, February.
    15. Fairchild, Richard & Guney, Yilmaz & Thanatawee, Yordying, 2014. "Corporate dividend policy in Thailand: Theory and evidence," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 129-151.
    16. Al-Malkawi, Husam-Aldin Nizar & Bhatti, M. Ishaq & Magableh, Sohail I., 2014. "On the dividend smoothing, signaling and the global financial crisis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 159-165.
    17. Javakhadze, David & Ferris, Stephen P. & Sen, Nilanjan, 2014. "An international analysis of dividend smoothing," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 200-220.
    18. Rihanat Idowu Abdulkadir & Nur Adiana Hiau Abdullah & Wong Woei-Chyuan, 2015. "Dividend Policy Changes in The Pre-, Mid-, and Post-Financial Crisis: Evidence from The Nigerian Stock Market," Asian Academy of Management Journal of Accounting and Finance (AAMJAF), Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia, vol. 11(2), pages 103-126.

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