Exploring the Causal Effect of Religious Piety on Dividend Policy: Evidence from Historical Religious Identification
15 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 4, 2018
Theory suggests that religious piety is associated with greater risk aversion and more conservative financial policies. Returns to shareholders through dividends are much more certain than returns through capital gains expected to be realized far into the future. We hypothesize that religious piety leads to a higher likelihood of dividend payments. We exploit the variation in religious piety across the U.S. counties and estimate the effect of religion on dividend policy. To draw a causal inference, we use historical religious piety in 1971 as the instrument. Our 2SLS results confirm that religious piety induces firms to pay larger dividends.
Keywords: dividends, religion, religiosity, payout policy, instrumental variable
JEL Classification: G35, Z12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation