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Culture, agency costs, and dividends

  • Fidrmuc, Jana P.
  • Jacob, Marcus
Registered author(s):

    This paper presents a culturally rooted agency explanation for differences in dividend payout policies around the world. We conjecture that the social normative nature of culture influences the character of agency relations and determines the acceptance and legitimacy of different dividend payout strategies across different countries. By linking dividends to cultural differences across 5797 firms in 41 countries, our analysis shows that high individualism, low power distance, and low uncertainty avoidance are significantly associated with higher dividend payouts. A comprehensive set of robustness tests in which we control for legal institutions, share repurchases, corporate debt ratios, and ownership structures confirms that culture is a relevant factor when analyzing dividend distributions. Our results further show that legal institutions and culture as a social institution have complementary effects on dividend payouts. Overall, our finding that culture matters suggests important implications for a wide range of agency-based economic and capital market phenomena.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 321-339

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:321-339
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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