Managerial Shareownership, Voting Power, and Cash Dividend Policy
39 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2008
While the classical dividend irrelevance theory implies that shareholders unanimously support the firm's dividend policy, managerial benefits from free cash flow, heterogenous personal tax rates and information asymmetries give rise to internal shareholder conflicts over the dividend decision. We conjecture that observed dividends resolve this conflict by consensus across heterogeneous shareholder groups. We develop and test this consensus-dividend hypothesis using Canadian firms where managers tend to own a large amount of voting stock. The empirical evidence indicates that cash dividends decrease as the voting power of owner-managers increases, and are almost always zero when owner-managers have absolute voting control of the firm. Panel data estimation as well as factor-analytic techniques give further empirical support for the consensus-dividend hypothesis.
Keywords: Dividend policy, shareholder clieneteles, taxes, free cash flow, consensus dividend, voting power,
JEL Classification: G32, G35
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