53 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2000
Date Written: June 2000
The percent of firms paying cash dividends falls from 66.5 in 1978 to 20.8 in 1999. The decline is due in part to the changing characteristics of publicly traded firms. Fed by new lists, the population of publicly traded firms tilts increasingly toward small firms with low profitability and strong growth opportunities characteristics typical of firms that have never paid dividends. More interesting, we also show that controlling for characteristics, firms become less likely to pay dividends. This lower propensity to pay is at least as important as changing characteristics in the declining incidence of dividend payers.
JEL Classification: G35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Fama, Eugene F. and French, Kenneth R., Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay? (June 2000). AFA 2001 New Orleans; CRSP Working Paper No. 509. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=203092 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.203092