IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Dividend Policy in Regulated Firms


  • rondi, laura
  • cambini, carlo
  • bremberger, francisca
  • gugler, klaus


We study the impact of different regulatory contracts of electricity companies on their dividend policy. Using a panel of 106 publicly traded European electric utilities in the period 1986-2011 we link dividend pay-out and smoothing ratios to the implementation of different regulatory mechanisms (cost plus vs. incentive regulation) and also to firm ownership. After controlling for the potential endogeneity of the regulatory mechanism, our results show that electric utilities subject to incentive regulation smooth their dividends less than firms subject to cost plus regulation but also present higher target payout ratios; thus suggesting that incentive regulation leads firms to a dividend policy more responsive to earnings variability and more consistent with efficiency-enhancing pressures. This suggests that when managers are more sensitive to competition-like efficiency pressures following the adoption of incentive regulation, they are more inclined to cut dividends when necessary. These results seem to apply in particular to incentive regulated firms when they are privately controlled.

Suggested Citation

  • rondi, laura & cambini, carlo & bremberger, francisca & gugler, klaus, 2013. "Dividend Policy in Regulated Firms," MPRA Paper 48043, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48043

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:hrv:faseco:33077889 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
    3. Ian Alexander & Timothy Irwin, 1997. "Price Caps, Rate-of-Return Regulation, and the Cost of Capital," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11575, The World Bank.
    4. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1995. "A Theory of Income and Dividend Smoothing Based on Incumbency Rents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 75-93, February.
    5. Joskow Paul L., 2008. "Incentive Regulation and Its Application to Electricity Networks," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(4), pages 1-14, December.
    6. Carlo Cambini & Laura Rondi, 2011. "Independence, Investment and Political Interference: Evidence from the European Union," RSCAS Working Papers 2011/42, European University Institute.
    7. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    8. 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.
    9. Andrei Shleifer, 1998. "State versus Private Ownership," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 133-150, Fall.
    10. Moyer, R. Charles & Rao, Ramesh & Tripathy, Niranjan, 1992. "Dividend policy and regulatory risk: A test of the Smith hypothesis," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 127-134, May.
    11. Bernardo Bortolotti & Carlo Cambini & Laura Rondi & Yossi Spiegel, 2011. "Capital Structure and Regulation: Do Ownership and Regulatory Independence Matter?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 517-564, June.
    12. Mark T. Leary & Roni Michaely, 2011. "Determinants of Dividend Smoothing: Empirical Evidence," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(10), pages 3197-3249.
    13. Newbery, D.M. & Pollitt, M.G., 1996. "The Restructuring and Privatisation of the CEGB: Was It Worth It?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9607, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    14. Mark Armstrong & David E.M. Sappington, 2006. "Regulation, Competition and Liberalization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(2), pages 325-366, June.
    15. Bortolotti, Bernardo & Cambini, Carlo & Rondi, Laura, 2013. "Reluctant regulation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 804-828.
    16. Guthrie, Graeme, 2006. "Regulating Infrastructure: The Impact on Risk and Investment," Working Paper Series 3851, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    17. Andres, Christian & Betzer, André & Goergen, Marc & Renneboog, Luc, 2009. "Dividend policy of German firms: A panel data analysis of partial adjustment models," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 175-187, March.
    18. Bennedsen, Morten, 2000. "Political ownership," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 559-581, June.
    19. Roni Michaely & Michael R. Roberts, 2012. "Corporate Dividend Policies: Lessons from Private Firms," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(3), pages 711-746.
    20. Wintoki, M. Babajide & Linck, James S. & Netter, Jeffry M., 2012. "Endogeneity and the dynamics of internal corporate governance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 581-606.
    21. Armstrong, Mark & Porter, Robert, 2007. "Preface to the Handbook of Industrial Organization, Volume 3," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
    22. Ilan Guttman & Ohad Kadan & Eugene Kandel, 2010. "Dividend Stickiness and Strategic Pooling," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(12), pages 4455-4495, December.
    23. Ai, Chunrong & Sappington, David E M, 2002. "The Impact of State Incentive Regulation on the U.S. Telecommunications Industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 133-159, September.
    24. Newbery, David M & Pollitt, Michael G, 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatization of Britain's CEGB--Was It Worth It?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 269-303, September.
    25. Tehmina Khan, 2006. "Company Dividends and Ownership Structure: Evidence from UK Panel Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 172-189, March.
    26. Graeme Guthrie, 2006. "Regulating Infrastructure: The Impact on Risk and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 925-972, December.
    27. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-659, September.
    28. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    29. Moyer, R. Charles & Chatfield, Robert E. & Sisneros, Phillip M., 1989. "Security Analyst Monitoring Activity: Agency Costs and Information Demands," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 503-512, December.
    30. Carlo Cambini & Laura Rondi, 2010. "Incentive regulation and investment: evidence from European energy utilities," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 1-26, August.
    31. Robert S. Hansen & Raman Kumar & Dilip K. Shome, 1994. "Dividend Policy and Corporate Monitoring: Evidence from the Regulated Electric Utility Industry," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 23(1), Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Al-Malkawi, Husam-Aldin Nizar & Bhatti, M. Ishaq & Magableh, Sohail I., 2014. "On the dividend smoothing, signaling and the global financial crisis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 159-165.
    2. Christian Growitsch & Marcus Stronzik, 2014. "Ownership unbundling of natural gas transmission networks: empirical evidence," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 207-225, October.
    3. repec:eco:journ1:2017-02-86 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Dividends; Lintner model; regulation; energy industry; price cap; incentive regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48043. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.