IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The dividend reinvestment plan puzzle


  • Harold Bierman


It is a rare Fortune 500 firm that does not offer its shareholders the opportunity to participate in a dividend reinvestment plan (a DRIP). There are a wide variety of plans but the typical plan has zero transaction cost for the investors. Some plans offer a price discount from the market price. The puzzle is, 'Why do dividend reinvestment plans exist?' If tax effects are ignored, the dividend policy of a firm does not matter. If taxes are considered and there are significant taxes, both retention and share repurchase are more desirable than the payment of dividends. Arguments are offered that dividends reduce risk, act as discipline on management, and supply information to the market. But all three of those objectives can be obtained in alternative ways. In some situations a dividend payment might reduce the transaction costs incurred by investors who want cash flow from the firm, but normally the saving in transaction costs is not significant. Thus most academics interested in finance argue in favour of either constant dividends or reducing them to zero. Most corporations that can afford to pay dividends, pay them. It is conventional corporate finance policy to increase dividends systematically. On top of this dividend policy puzzle we now have the dividend reinvestment plan puzzle. If investors want to reinvest in a firm, why does the firm not retain earnings?

Suggested Citation

  • Harold Bierman, 1997. "The dividend reinvestment plan puzzle," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 267-271.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apfiec:v:7:y:1997:i:3:p:267-271 DOI: 10.1080/096031097333628

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Myung Jig Kim & Charles R. Nelson & Richard Startz, 1991. "Mean Reversion in Stock Prices? A Reappraisal of the Empirical Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 515-528.
    2. Hansen, Bruce E, 1992. "The Likelihood Ratio Test under Nonstandard Conditions: Testing the Markov Switching Model of GNP," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(S), pages 61-82, Suppl. De.
    3. Schwert, G. William, 1989. "Business cycles, financial crises, and stock volatility," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 83-125, January.
    4. Goetzmann, William Nelson & Jorion, Philippe, 1993. " Testing the Predictive Power of Dividend Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 663-679, June.
    5. Olivier J. Blanchard & Mark W. Watson, 1982. "Bubbles, Rational Expectations and Financial Markets," NBER Working Papers 0945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kandel, Shmuel & Stambaugh, Robert F, 1990. "Expectations and Volatility of Consumption and Asset Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(2), pages 207-232.
    7. Turner, Christopher M. & Startz, Richard & Nelson, Charles R., 1989. "A Markov model of heteroskedasticity, risk, and learning in the stock market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 3-22, November.
    8. Francis X. Diebold & Joon-Haeng Lee & Gretchen C. Weinbach, 1993. "Regime switching with time-varying transition probabilities," Working Papers 93-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    9. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. "Permanent and Temporary Components of Stock Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 246-273, April.
    10. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
    11. Elliott, Graham & Stock, James H., 1994. "Inference in Time Series Regression When the Order of Integration of a Regressor is Unknown," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(3-4), pages 672-700, August.
    12. David M. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Speculative Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 529-546.
    13. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
    14. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
    15. Hansen, Bruce E, 1996. "Inference When a Nuisance Parameter Is Not Identified under the Null Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 413-430, March.
    16. Hamilton, James D., 1996. "Specification testing in Markov-switching time-series models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 127-157, January.
    17. Fama, Eugene F, 1991. " Efficient Capital Markets: II," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(5), pages 1575-1617, December.
    18. Christie, Andrew A., 1982. "The stochastic behavior of common stock variances : Value, leverage and interest rate effects," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 407-432, December.
    19. Keim, Donald B. & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1986. "Predicting returns in the stock and bond markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 357-390, December.
    20. McQueen, Grant, 1992. "Long-Horizon Mean-Reverting Stock Prices Revisited," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(01), pages 1-18, March.
    21. Nelson, Charles R & Kim, Myung J, 1993. " Predictable Stock Returns: The Role of Small Sample Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 641-661, June.
    22. Cecchetti, Stephen G & Lam, Pok-sang & Mark, Nelson C, 1990. "Mean Reversion in Equilibrium Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 398-418, June.
    23. van Norden, Simon & Schaller, Huntley, 1993. "The Predictability of Stock Market Regime: Evidence from the Toronto Stock Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 505-510, August.
    24. Garcia, Rene, 1998. "Asymptotic Null Distribution of the Likelihood Ratio Test in Markov Switching Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 763-788, August.
    25. Matthew Richardson & James H. Stock, 1990. "Drawing Inferences From Statistics Based on Multi-Year Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 3335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Poterba, James M. & Summers, Lawrence H., 1988. "Mean reversion in stock prices : Evidence and Implications," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 27-59, October.
    27. Brock, William & Lakonishok, Josef & LeBaron, Blake, 1992. " Simple Technical Trading Rules and the Stochastic Properties of Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1731-1764, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/15219 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Thomas David & Edith Ginglinger, 2015. "When Cutting Dividends Is Not Bad News: The Case Of Optional Stock Dividends," Post-Print hal-01637541, HAL.
    3. Nekat, Kai & Nippel, Peter, 2007. "The impact of a firm's payout policy on stock prices and shareholders' wealth in an inefficient market," Manuskripte aus den Instituten für Betriebswirtschaftslehre der Universität Kiel 619, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre.
    4. Chiang, Kevin & Frankfurter, George M. & Kosedag, Arman, 2005. "Exploratory analyses of dividend reinvestment plans and some comparisons," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 570-586.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:apfiec:v:7:y:1997:i:3:p:267-271. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.