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Market selection and payout policy under majority rule

By Pablo Beker


The purpose of this paper is to explain how the choice between distributing cash through dividends or shares repurchases affects the firm’s ability to raise capital in the financial market. I assume investors have quadratic preferences over wealth but different prior beliefs about the likelihood a distribution takes place. At date zero agents purchase shares given their expectation about the firm’s payout method. At date 1 the firm announces whether the payout takes place that period. As in Brennan and Thakor [3], investors with different shareholdings have different incentives to gather information and, therefore, heterogeneous preferences about payout methods at date 1. I assume the firm adopts the payout method preferred by the majority of shareholders at date 1 under the one share/one vote rule. At date 2 the firm is liquidated and the remaining output is distributed among its shareholders. If at date zero agents disagree but not too much on the probability a distribution takes place, I show that a firm expected to pay dividends raises strictly more financial capital than an otherwise identical firm which is expected to repurchase shares. Therefore, a larger fraction of cash is distributed as dividend than through repurchases. One concludes that even in the presence of a small tax disadvantage financial markets favor dividend paying firms

Topics: HG
Publisher: University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:

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  3. (2000). Majority Stable Production Equilibria: A Multivariate Mean Shareholder Theorem,
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  6. (1990). Shareholder Preferences and Dividend Policy, doi

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