Why Do Companies Pay Dividends?
This paper presents a simple model of market equilibrium to explain why firms that maximize the value of their shares pay dividends even though the funds could instead be retained and subsequently distributed to shareholders in a way that would allow them to be taxed more favorably as capital gains. The two principal ingredients of our explanation are: (1) the conflicting preferences of shareholders in different tax brackets and (2) the shareholders' desire for portfolio diversification, we show that companies will pay a positive fraction of earnings in dividends. We also provide some comparative static analysis of dividend behavior with respect to tax parameters and to the conditions determining the riskiness of the securities.
|Date of creation:||1983|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in American Economic Review|
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- Feldstein, Martin S & Slemrod, Joel, 1980.
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3203643, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Feldstein, Martin S & Green, Jerry & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1979. "Corporate Financial Policy and Taxation in a Growing Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 411-32, August.
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- David F. Bradford, 1979. "The Incidence and Allocation Effects of a Tax on Corporate Distributions," NBER Working Papers 0349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sudipto Bhattacharya, 1979. "Imperfect Information, Dividend Policy, and "The Bird in the Hand" Fallacy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 259-270, Spring.
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