Is the Dividend Puzzle Solved?
Since the 1960’s, there is an ongoing debate on dividend policy, which remains a controversial issue to this day. Why do firms pay dividends? The academics have not been able to agree on any convincing explanation, and the same time, many even claim that firms should not pay dividends, and so we have a “dividend puzzle”. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the main findings of two more recent fields of research, and to discuss why they seem to be the most promising avenues for further research, to solve the “dividend puzzle”, and to build a complete payout policy theory. These fields are: (i) the agency theory and (ii) the lifecycle theory. Besides being very intuitive, these theories are consistent with most empirical facts on U.S. firms’ payout policy.
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