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A Theory of Dividends Based on Tax Clienteles

  • Franklin Allen
  • Antonio Bernardo
  • Ivo Welch

This paper explains why some firms prefer to pay dividends rather than repurchase shares. When institutional investors are relatively less taxed than individual investors, dividends induce "ownership clientele" effects. Firms paying dividends attract relatively more institutions, which have a relative advantage in detecting high firm quality and in ensuring firms are well managed. The theory is consistent with some documented regularities, specifically both the presence and stickiness of dividends, and offers novel empirical implications, e.g., a prediction that it is the tax difference between institutions and retail investors that determines dividend payments, not the absolute tax payments. Copyright The American Finance Association 2000.

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Paper provided by Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research in its series Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers with number 15-98.

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Handle: RePEc:fth:pennfi:15-98
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  1. Ahron R. Ofer & Anjan V. Thakor, 2004. "A Theory of Stock Price Responses to Alternative Corporate Cash Disbursement Methods: Stock Repurchase and Dividends," Finance 0411031, EconWPA.
  2. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1994. "What Do We Know About Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," NBER Working Papers 4875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Chowdhry, Bhagwan & Nanda, Vikram, 1994. "Repurchase Premia as a Reason for Dividends: A Dynamic Model of Corporate Payout Policies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(2), pages 321-50.
  4. A. Admati & P. P├čeiderer & J. Zechner, 2005. "Large shareholder activism, risk sharing, and financial market equilibrium," Public Economics 0502011, EconWPA.
  5. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1986. "Large Shareholders and Corporate Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 461-88, June.
  6. Brennan, Michael J & Thakor, Anjan V, 1990. " Shareholder Preferences and Dividend Policy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 993-1018, September.
  7. Lucas, Deborah J. & McDonald, Robert L., 1998. "Shareholder Heterogeneity, Adverse Selection, and Payout Policy," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(02), pages 233-253, June.
  8. Barclay, Michael J. & Smith, Clifford Jr., 1988. "Corporate payout policy : Cash Dividends versus Open-Market Repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 61-82, October.
  9. John, Kose & Williams, Joseph, 1985. " Dividends, Dilution, and Taxes: A Signalling Equilibrium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1053-70, September.
  10. Titman, Sheridan & Trueman, Brett, 1986. "Information quality and the valuation of new issues," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 159-172, June.
  11. Hausch, Donald B & Seward, James K, 1993. "Signaling with Dividends and Share Repurchases: A Choice between Deterministic and Stochastic Cash Disbursements," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(1), pages 121-54.
  12. Ian Ayres & Peter Cramton, 1994. "Relational Investing and Agency Theory," Papers of Peter Cramton 94clr, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
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