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Appearing and Disappearing Dividends: The Link to Catering Incentives

  • Malcolm Baker
  • Jeffrey Wurgler

We document a close link between fluctuations in the propensity to pay dividends and catering incentives. First, we use the methodology of Fama and French (2001) to identify a total of four distinct trends in the propensity to pay dividends between 1963 and 2000. Second, we show that each of these trends lines up with a corresponding fluctuation in catering incentives: The propensity to pay increases when a proxy for the stock market dividend premium is positive and decreases when it is negative. The lone disconnect is attributable to Nixon-era controls.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9995.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Baker, Malcolm and Jeffrey Wurgler. "Appearing And Disappearing Dividends: The Link To Catering Incentives," Journal of Financial Economics, 2004, v73(2,Aug), 271-288.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9995
Note: CF
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  1. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 2001. "Disappearing dividends: changing firm characteristics or lower propensity to pay?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 3-43, April.
  2. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron, 1974. "The effects of dividend yield and dividend policy on common stock prices and returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-22, May.
  3. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Shoven, John B, 1989. "Cash Distributions to Shareholders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 129-40, Summer.
  4. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1999. "Predictive regressions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 375-421, December.
  5. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  6. 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.
  7. Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2004. "A Catering Theory of Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(3), pages 1125-1165, 06.
  8. John R. Graham, 2003. "Taxes and Corporate Finance: A Review," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(4), pages 1075-1129.
  9. Dann, Larry Y., 1981. "Common stock repurchases : An analysis of returns to bondholders and stockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 113-138, June.
  10. Fenn, George W. & Liang, Nellie, 2001. "Corporate payout policy and managerial stock incentives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 45-72, April.
  11. Gustavo Grullon & Roni Michaely, 2002. "Dividends, Share Repurchases, and the Substitution Hypothesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1649-1684, 08.
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