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Did Dividends Increase Immediately After the 2003 Reduction in Tax Rates?

  • Jennifer L. Blouin
  • Jana Smith Raedy
  • Douglas A. Shackelford

The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 reduces the maximum statutory personal tax rate on dividends from 38.1 percent to 15 percent. This study analyzes dividend declarations in the quarter following passage. Aggregate dividends rose by 9 percent when boards of directors first met following enactment. Consistent with the dividend changes being tax-motivated, they are increasing in the percentage of the firm held by individuals. Dividend changes also increased with insider ownership, consistent with managers acting in their own interests. However, these results are limited primarily to firms that made large, special dividends. We find little evidence of an increase in regular, quarterly dividend payments.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10301.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10301
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  1. Healy, Paul M. & Palepu, Krishna G., 1988. "Earnings information conveyed by dividend initiations and omissions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 149-175, September.
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  5. Miller, Merton H. & Scholes, Myron S., 1978. "Dividends and taxes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 333-364, December.
  6. Jennifer L. Blouin & Jana Smith Raedy & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2003. "Capital Gains Taxes and Equity Trading: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 611-651, 09.
  7. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, . "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics or Lower Propensity to Pay?."," CRSP working papers 509, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  8. Franklin Allen & Roni Michaely, 2002. "Payout Policy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-21, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    • Allen, Franklin & Michaely, Roni, 2003. "Payout policy," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 337-429 Elsevier.
  9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 2000. "Agency Problems and Dividend Policies around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 1-33, 02.
  10. Brav, Alon & Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Michaely, Roni, 2005. "Payout policy in the 21st century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 483-527, September.
  11. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-59, September.
  12. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-75, May.
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  14. Gentry, William M., 1994. "Taxes, financial decisions and organizational form : Evidence from publicly traded partnerships," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 223-244, February.
  15. Miller, Merton H & Scholes, Myron S, 1982. "Dividends and Taxes: Some Empirical Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1118-41, December.
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