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Dividend Suspensions and Cash Flow Risk during the Covid-19 Pandemic


  • Timmermann, Allan
  • Pettenuzzo, Davide
  • Sabbatucci, Riccardo


We examine the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on firms’ decisions to suspend dividends and estimate a model that quantifies the effect of suspensions on growth in aggregate dividends. Our estimates show that dividend suspensions had a large impact on expected future dividend growth and also helped predict the sharp declines observed in broader measures of economic activity. Firms with high leverage and low profitability were more likely to have suspended their dividends during the pandemic as were firms with the largest negative stock returns prior to the dividend announcement date. While firms that suspended their dividends experienced large negative abnormal returns, firms that substantially reduced but did not entirely eliminate dividends saw large positive abnormal returns around the announcement date.

Suggested Citation

  • Timmermann, Allan & Pettenuzzo, Davide & Sabbatucci, Riccardo, 2020. "Dividend Suspensions and Cash Flow Risk during the Covid-19 Pandemic," CEPR Discussion Papers 14921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14921

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Baker, Malcolm & Wurgler, Jeffrey, 2004. "Appearing and disappearing dividends: The link to catering incentives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 271-288, August.
    6. Ding, Wenzhi & Levine, Ross & Lin, Chen & Xie, Wensi, 2021. "Corporate immunity to the COVID-19 pandemic," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 802-830.
    7. Michaely, Roni & Thaler, Richard H & Womack, Kent L, 1995. "Price Reactions to Dividend Initiations and Omissions: Overreaction or Drift?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 573-608, June.
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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Economic consequences > Stock market


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    Cited by:

    1. Burak Pirgaip, 2021. "Pan(dem)ic reactions in Turkish stock market: evidence from share repurchases," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 11(2), pages 381-402, June.
    2. Xiaodong Teng & Bao-Guang Chang & Kun-Shan Wu, 2021. "The Role of Financial Flexibility on Enterprise Sustainable Development during the COVID-19 Crisis—A Consideration of Tangible Assets," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(3), pages 1-16, January.

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