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Dividend Policy inside the Firm

Author

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  • Mihir A. Desai
  • C. Fritz Foley
  • James R. Hines Jr.

Abstract

This paper analyzes dividend remittances by a large panel of foreign affiliates of U.S. multinational firms. The dividend policies of foreign affiliates, which convey no signals to public capital markets, nevertheless resemble those used by publicly held companies in paying dividends to diffuse common shareholders. Robustness checks verify that dividend policies of foreign affiliates are little affected by the dividend policies of their parent companies or parent company exposure to public capital markets. Systematic differences in the payout behavior of affiliates that differ in organizational form, and those that face differing tax costs of paying dividends, reveal the importance of tax factors; nevertheless, dividend policies are not solely determined by tax considerations. The absence of capital market considerations and the incompleteness of tax explanations together suggest that dividend policies are largely driven by the need to control managers of foreign affiliates. Parent firms are more willing to incur tax penalties by simultaneously investing funds while receiving dividends when their foreign affiliates are partially owned, located far from the United States, or in jurisdictions in which property rights are weak, all of which are implied by control theories of dividends.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8698
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    Cited by:

    1. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "An Agency Theory of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines Jr., 2002. "Chains of Ownership, Regional Tax Competition, and Foreign Direct Investment," NBER Working Papers 9224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fritz Foley, C. & Hartzell, Jay C. & Titman, Sheridan & Twite, Garry, 2007. "Why do firms hold so much cash? A tax-based explanation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 579-607, December.
    4. Jan Bena & Jan Hanousek, 2008. "Rent Extraction by Large Shareholders: Evidence Using Dividend Policy in the Czech Republic," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 58(03-04), pages 106-130, May.
    5. Selin Sayek & Hyoung Goo Kang & Mr. Alexander Lehmann, 2004. "Multinational Affiliates and Local Financial Markets," IMF Working Papers 2004/107, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2004. "Foreign direct investment in a world of multiple taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2727-2744, December.
    7. Michael Faulkender & Mitchell Petersen, 2012. "Investment and Capital Constraints: Repatriations Under the American Jobs Creation Act," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(11), pages 3351-3388.
    8. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2006. "Capital Controls, Liberalizations, and Foreign Direct Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 1433-1464.
    9. I.M. Ramesh Bhat, 2007. "Dividend behaviour of Indian companies under monetary policy restrictions," Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 14-25, January.
    10. Tajika, Eiji & Nakatani, Ryota, 2008. "Welcome Home to Japan: Repatriation of Foreign Profits by Japanese Multinationals," Discussion Papers 2008-04, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
    11. Randall Morck & Bernard Yeung, 2005. "Dividend Taxation and Corporate Governance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 163-180, Summer.

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    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies

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