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Optimal payout ratio under uncertainty and the flexibility hypothesis: Theory and empirical evidence

  • Lee, Cheng-Few
  • Gupta, Manak C.
  • Chen, Hong-Yi
  • Lee, Alice C.
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    Following the dividend flexibility hypothesis used by DeAngelo and DeAngelo (2006), Blau and Fuller (2008), and others, we theoretically extend the proposition of DeAngelo and DeAngelo (2006) optimal payout policy in terms of the flexibility dividend hypothesis. In addition, we also introduce growth rate, systematic risk, and total risk variables into the theoretical model. To test the theoretical results derived in this paper, we use the data collected in the US from 1969 to 2009 to investigate the impact of the growth rate, systematic risk, and total risk on the optimal payout ratio in terms of the fixed-effect model. We find that based on flexibility considerations, a company will reduce its payout when the growth rate increases. In addition, we find that a nonlinear relationship exists between the payout ratio and the risk. In other words, the relationship between the payout ratio and the risk is negative (or positive) when the growth rate is higher (or lower) than the rate of return on total assets. Our theoretical model and empirical results can therefore be used to identify whether flexibility or the free cash flow hypothesis should be used to determine the dividend policy.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VFK-526MS19-1/2/7f38b78edc5f8ca9849dc4f8e826650d
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Corporate Finance.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 483-501

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:17:y:2011:i:3:p:483-501
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jcorpfin

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