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Did Firms Substitute Dividends for Share Repurchases after the 2003 Reductions in Shareholder Tax Rates?

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

Abstract

This paper tests whether firms altered their dividend and share repurchase policies in response to the 2003 reductions in shareholder tax rates. We predict that firms substituted dividends for repurchases, because the reduction in dividend tax rates exceeded the reduction in the capital gains tax rates. As expected, we find substitution and find that it is increasing in the percentage of the company owned by individual investors, the only shareholders affected by the legislation. These findings are consistent with boards of directors considering the tax preferences of individual stockholders (particularly officers and managers) when setting dividend and share repurchase policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer L. Blouin & Jana Smith Raedy & Douglas A. Shackelford, 2007. "Did Firms Substitute Dividends for Share Repurchases after the 2003 Reductions in Shareholder Tax Rates?," NBER Working Papers 13601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13601
    Note: PE CF
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2001. "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 14(1), pages 67-79.
    2. Jagannathan, Murali & Stephens, Clifford P. & Weisbach, Michael S., 2000. "Financial flexibility and the choice between dividends and stock repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 355-384, September.
    3. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Shoven, John B, 1989. "Cash Distributions to Shareholders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 129-140, Summer.
    4. Gustavo Grullon & Roni Michaely, 2002. "Dividends, Share Repurchases, and the Substitution Hypothesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1649-1684, August.
    5. 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.
    6. Feldstein, Martin & Green, Jerry, 1983. "Why Do Companies Pay Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 17-30, March.
    7. 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, September.
    8. Merton H. Miller & Franco Modigliani, 1961. "Dividend Policy, Growth, and the Valuation of Shares," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34, pages 411-411.
    9. Roger Gordon & Martin Dietz, 2006. "Dividends and Taxes," NBER Working Papers 12292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Skinner, Douglas J., 2000. "Special dividends and the evolution of dividend signaling," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 309-354, September.
    11. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "An Agency Theory of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Dan Dhaliwal & Oliver Zhen Li, 2006. "Investor Tax Heterogeneity and Ex-Dividend Day Trading Volume," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 463-490, February.
    13. Jacob Boudoukh & Roni Michaely & Matthew Richardson & Michael R. Roberts, 2007. "On the Importance of Measuring Payout Yield: Implications for Empirical Asset Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 877-915, April.
    14. B. Douglas Berhheim, 1991. "Tax Policy and the Dividend Puzzle," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 455-476, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ferris, Erin E. Syron, 2015. "Dividend Taxes and Stock Volatility," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-36, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Jesse Edgerton, 2010. "Effects of the 2003 dividend tax cut: evidence from real estate investment trusts," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Hamid Mehran & Michael Suher, 2009. "The impact of tax law changes on bank dividend policy, sell-offs, organizational form, and industry structure," Staff Reports 369, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    4. Christian Keuschnigg & Evelyn Ribi, 2010. "Business Taxation, Corporate Finance and Economic Performance," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-04, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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