The Value Relevance of Dividends, Book Value and Earnings
New York University Dept. of Accounting Working Paper No. 99-3
31 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 1999
Date Written: August 5, 1999
This paper compares the value relevance of book value and dividends versus book value and reported earnings. Our work is motivated by recent research including Ohlson (1995), Feltham and Ohlson (1995), Bernard (1995), Burgstahler and Dichev (1997), Collins, Maydew and Weiss (1997), Barth, Beaver and Landsman (1998) and Hand and Landsman (1999).
We justify modeling price in terms of book value and dividends in two ways. First, using Modigliani and Miller's (1959) argument, dividends may have a stronger correlation with permanent earnings than reported earnings. Second, we derive a model of price in terms of book value and dividends from basic analytical relationships.
Three sets of findings are reported. First, overall, the variables, book value and dividends, have almost the same explanatory power as book value and reported earnings. Second, for firms with transitory earnings, dividends have greater explanatory power than earnings but book value and earnings have about the same explanatory power as book value and dividends.
Most important, when earnings are transitory and book value is a poor indicator of value, dividends have the greatest explanatory power of the three variables. The value relevance of dividends is confirmed further in statistical tests using holdout samples.
JEL Classification: M41, G12, G35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation