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The Effect of Dividends on Consumption

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  • Malcolm Baker
  • Stefan Nagel
  • Jeffrey Wurgler

Abstract

Classical models predict that the division of stock returns into dividends and capital appreciation does not affect investor consumption patterns, while mental accounting and other economic frictions predict that investors have a higher propensity to consume from stock returns in the form of dividends. Using two micro data sets, we show that investors are indeed far more likely to consume from dividends than capital gains. In the Consumer Expenditure Survey, household consumption increases with dividend income, controlling for total wealth, total portfolio returns, and other sources of income. In a sample of household investment accounts data from a brokerage, net withdrawals from the accounts increase one-for-one with ordinary dividends of moderate size, controlling for total portfolio returns, and also increase with mutual fund and special dividends. We comment on several potential explanations for the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Malcolm Baker & Stefan Nagel & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2006. "The Effect of Dividends on Consumption," NBER Working Papers 12288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12288
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    Cited by:

    1. van Treeck, Till & Behringer, Jan, 2019. "The corporate sector and the current account," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203632, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Caliskan, Deren & Doukas, John A., 2015. "CEO risk preferences and dividend policy decisions," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 18-42.
    3. Marco Di Maggio & Amir Kermani & Kaveh Majlesi, 2020. "Stock Market Returns and Consumption," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(6), pages 3175-3219, December.
    4. Olivier Allain, 2011. "The impact of income distribution on consumption: a reassessment," Post-Print hal-00712657, HAL.
    5. Cuong Nguyen, 2019. "The asymmetry in firms’ mechanisms of cash holdings adjustments: evidence from the G-5 economies," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 429-463, August.
    6. Whitaker, James B. & Effland, Anne, 2009. "Income Stabilization Through Government Payments: How is Farm Household Consumption Affected?," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 36-48, April.
    7. Milkman, Katherine L. & Beshears, John, 2009. "Mental accounting and small windfalls: Evidence from an online grocer," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 384-394, August.
    8. Kaustia, Markku & Rantapuska, Elias, 2012. "Rational and behavioral motives to trade: Evidence from reinvestment of dividends and tender offer proceeds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 2366-2378.
    9. Balli, Faruk & De Bruin, Anne & Balli, Hatice Ozer & Karimov, Jamshid, 2020. "Corporate net income and payout smoothing under Shari'ah compliance," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    10. Jiang, Hao & Sun, Zheng, 2020. "Reaching for dividends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 321-338.
    11. Lee, King Fuei, 2013. "Demographics and the long-horizon returns of dividend-yield strategies," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 202-218.
    12. Harris, Lawrence E. & Hartzmark, Samuel M. & Solomon, David H., 2015. "Juicing the dividend yield: Mutual funds and the demand for dividends," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 433-451.
    13. Xavier Gabaix, 2014. "A Sparsity-Based Model of Bounded Rationality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1661-1710.
    14. Jeffrey Thompson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Recent Trends in the Distribution of Income: Labor, Wealth and More Complete Measures of Well Being," Working Papers wp225, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    15. Karpavičius, Sigitas & Yu, Fan, 2018. "The impact of dividend-protected CEO equity incentives on firm value and risk," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 16-24.
    16. Breuer, Wolfgang & Rieger, M. Oliver & Soypak, K. Can, 2014. "The behavioral foundations of corporate dividend policy a cross-country analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 247-265.
    17. Isakov, Dusan & Weisskopf, Jean-Philippe, 2013. "Do not wake sleeping dogs: Pay-out policies in founding family firms," FSES Working Papers 443, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    18. Davaadorj, Zagdbazar, 2019. "Does social capital affect dividend policy?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 116-128.
    19. Golubov, Andrey & Lasfer, Meziane & Vitkova, Valeriya, 2020. "Active catering to dividend clienteles: Evidence from takeovers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(3), pages 815-836.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior

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