Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay?

Eugene F. Fama, Kenneth R. French
2000 Social Science Research Network  
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.
more » ... to pay dividends. This lower propensity to pay is at least as important as changing characteristics in the declining incidence of dividend payers.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.203092 fatcat:vzx7bw2kpzejvjmnkkhfrhz4h4