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Corporate dividend policy in practice: Evidence from an emerging market with a tax-free environment

  • Chazi, Abdelaziz
  • Boubakri, Narjess
  • Zanella, Fernando

Several theories have been proposed to explain why companies pay dividends. However, as of today, the dividend policy remains a puzzle as no convincing explanation has been given as to why firms pay cash dividends to their shareholders. This paper contributes to this debate by examining the dividend policy in an emerging market that has a tax-free environment. Specifically, we follow Brav et al. (2005) and examine this issue using survey and field interviews, in the particular context of the United Arab Emirates. Our results provide support for the proposition that dividend policy is conservative. We also find that dividends in the UAE are considered by managers as a residual cash flow, and are determined after investment decisions are made. When examining the determinants of dividend policy, we find that taxes are not important, that institutional investors are expected to play a role in disciplining managers, and that dividends may play a disciplinary role as well in controlling agency conflicts.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Pacific-Basin Finance Journal.

Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 245-259

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pacfin:v:19:y:2011:i:2:p:245-259
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/pacfin

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  1. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Varouj Aivazian & Laurence Booth & Sean Cleary, 2003. "Do Emerging Market Firms Follow Different Dividend Policies From U.S. Firms?," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 26(3), pages 371-387.
  3. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
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  5. Miller, Merton H & Rock, Kevin, 1985. " Dividend Policy under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1031-51, September.
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  7. John R. Graham & Alok Kumar, 2006. "Do Dividend Clienteles Exist? Evidence on Dividend Preferences of Retail Investors," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1305-1336, 06.
  8. Franklin Allen & Roni Michaely, 2002. "Payout Policy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-21, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    • Allen, Franklin & Michaely, Roni, 2003. "Payout policy," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 337-429 Elsevier.
  9. Simeon Djankov & Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Law and Economics of Self-Dealing," NBER Working Papers 11883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Ang, James S. & Fatemi, Ali & Tourani-Rad, Alireza, 1997. "Capital structure and dividend policies of Indonesian firms," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 87-103, February.
  15. P. C. Kumar & George Tsetsekos, 1999. "The differentiation of 'emerging' equity markets," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(5), pages 443-453.
  16. Merton H. Miller & Franco Modigliani, 1961. "Dividend Policy, Growth, and the Valuation of Shares," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34, pages 411.
  17. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  18. Kato, Hideaki Kiyoshi & Loewenstein, Uri & Tsay, Wenyuh, 2002. "Dividend policy, cash flow, and investment in Japan," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 443-473, September.
  19. Chen, Zhilan & Cheung, Yan-Leung & Stouraitis, Aris & Wong, Anita W.S., 2005. "Ownership concentration, firm performance, and dividend policy in Hong Kong," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 431-449, September.
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