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Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics or Lower Propensity to Pay?."

  • EUGENE F. FAMA
  • KENNETH R. FRENCH

The proportion of U.S. firms paying dividends drops sharply during the 1980s and 1990s. Among NYSE, AMEX, and Nasdaq firms, the proportion of dividend payers falls from 66.5% in 1978 to only 20.8% in 1999. The decline is due in part to an avalanche of new listings that tilts the population of publicly traded firms toward small firms with low profitability and strong growth opportunities-the timeworn characteristics of firms that typically do not pay dividends. But this is not the whole story. The authors' more striking finding is that, no matter what their characteristics, firms in general have become less likely to pay dividends. 2001 Morgan Stanley.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago in its series CRSP working papers with number 509.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:chispw:509
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  1. 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.
  2. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  4. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Skinner, Douglas J, 1992. " Dividends and Losses," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1837-63, December.
  5. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-92, July.
  6. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  7. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  8. 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.
  9. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-59, September.
  10. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
  11. Stewart C. Myers, 1984. "Capital Structure Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 1393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
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