Cross-Country Determinants of Payout Policy: A Survey of European Firms
45 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2005
Date Written: March 10, 2005
We survey managers from 16 European countries to examine cross-country determinants of payout policy. We find that European managers' views on dividend policy are driven largely by factors similar to that of their U.S. peers. They strongly agree with Lintner's findings that dividends are smoothed out and are difficult to cut, although they follow different dividend targets than a fixed payout ratio. A majority of European managers, however, consider repurchases as a tool of flexibility rather than a substitute for dividends. Our cross-country analysis does not support La Porta, Lopez, Shielfer and Vishny's (2000) contention that dividend policy is influenced primarily by the quality of legal system. Instead, we find that dividend policy is determined by a complex interaction of the firm's ownership structure of the firm and the legal and institutional structure of its home country. Repurchase policy, on the other hand, is influenced primarily by tax and institutional ownership variables.
JEL Classification: G15, G38, F23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation