IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/0413.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why Do Companies Pay Dividends?

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Feldstein
  • Jerry Green

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldstein & Jerry Green, 1979. "Why Do Companies Pay Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0413
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0413.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bradford, David F., 1981. "The incidence and allocation effects of a tax on corporate distributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-22, February.
    2. Martin Feldstein & Jerry Green & Eytan Sheshinski, 1979. "Corporate Financial Policy and Taxation in a Growing Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 411-432.
    3. Feldstein, Martin S & Slemrod, Joel, 1980. "Personal Taxation, Portfolio Choice, and the Effect of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 854-866, October.
    4. M. S. Feldstein, 1970. "Corporate Taxation and Dividend Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(1), pages 57-72.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach, 1979. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(3), pages 433-446.
    6. 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.
    7. Miller, Merton H. & Scholes, Myron S., 1978. "Dividends and taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 333-364, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2002. "Dividend Policy inside the Firm," NBER Working Papers 8698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," Working papers 343, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Becker, Bo & Jacob, Marcus & Jacob, Martin, 2013. "Payout taxes and the allocation of investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 1-24.
    4. Trevor S. Harris & R. Glenn Hubbard & Deen Kemsley, 1999. "The Share Price Effects of Dividend Taxes and Tax Imputation Credits," NBER Working Papers 7445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Roger H. Gordon & Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, 1990. "Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 on Corporate Financial Policy and Organizational Form," NBER Working Papers 3222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Harris, Trevor S. & Hubbard, R. Glenn & Kemsley, Deen, 2001. "The share price effects of dividend taxes and tax imputation credits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 569-596, March.
    7. Poterba, James M. & Summers, Lawrence H., 1983. "Dividend taxes, corporate investment, and `Q'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 135-167, November.
    8. Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Carina Selander & Magnus Wikstrom, 2009. "Taxation, Dividend Payments and Ex-Day Price-Changes," Multinational Finance Journal, Multinational Finance Journal, vol. 13(1-2), pages 135-154, March-Jun.
    9. Randall Morck, 2003. "Why Some Double Taxation Might Make Sense: The Special Case of Inter-corporate Dividends," NBER Working Papers 9651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1998. "Fundamental Tax Reform and Corporate Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 6433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. François Gourio & Jianjun Miao, 2010. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Long-Run Effects of Dividend Tax Reform," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 131-168, January.
    12. Conesa, Juan C. & Domínguez, Begoña, 2013. "Intangible investment and Ramsey capital taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 983-995.
    13. Alstadsæter, Annette & Jacob, Martin & Michaely, Roni, 2017. "Do dividend taxes affect corporate investment?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 74-83.
    14. R. Glenn Hubbard & Peter C. Reiss, 1989. "Corporate Payouts and the Tax Price of Corporate Retentions: Evidence from the Undistributed Profits Tax of 1936-1938," NBER Working Papers 3111, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    16. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Dividend and Corporate Taxation in an Agency Model of the Firm," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 1-31, August.
    17. Michael P. Donohoe & Hansol Jang & Petro Lisowsky, 2022. "Competitive Externalities of Tax Cuts," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 201-259, March.
    18. Brandstetter, Laura & Jacob, Martin, 2013. "Do corporate tax cuts increase investments?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 153, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    19. Joel B. Slemrod, 1983. "A General Equilibrium Model of Taxation with Endogenous Financial Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 427-458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Serge Nadeau & Robert P. Strauss, 1991. "Tax Policies and the Real and Financial Decisions of the Firm: the Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Public Finance Review, , vol. 19(3), pages 251-292, July.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:nbr:nberwo:0413. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.