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Dividends as reference points : a behavioral signaling approach

Author: Malcolm Baker; Jeffrey Wurgler; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2012.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 18242.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We outline a dividend signaling approach in which rational managers signal firm strength to investors who are loss averse to reductions in dividends relative to the reference point set by prior dividends. Managers with strong but unobservable cash earnings separate themselves by paying high dividends but retain enough earnings to be likely not to fall short of the same level next period. The model is consistent with  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Malcolm Baker; Jeffrey Wurgler; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 801653402
Notes: Title from http://www.nber.org/papers/18242 viewed July 25, 2012.
"July 2012."
Description: 1 online resource (40, [18] pages) : illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 18242.
Responsibility: Malcolm Baker, Jeffrey Wurgler.

Abstract:

We outline a dividend signaling approach in which rational managers signal firm strength to investors who are loss averse to reductions in dividends relative to the reference point set by prior dividends. Managers with strong but unobservable cash earnings separate themselves by paying high dividends but retain enough earnings to be likely not to fall short of the same level next period. The model is consistent with several features of the data, including equilibrium dividend policies similar to a Lintner partial-adjustment model; modal dividend changes of zero; stronger market reactions to dividend cuts than increases; relative infrequency and irregularity of repurchases versus dividends; and a core mechanism that does not center on public destruction of value, a notion that managers reject in surveys. Supportive new tests involve nominal levels and changes of dividends per share, announcement effects, and reference point currencies of ADR dividends.

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