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Sticky Dividends: A New Explanation

by Chang Yong Ha, Hyun Joong Im*, Ya Kang

ARTICLE | Finance Research Letters | Forthcoming


Abstract


This study proposes a generalized partial adjustment model of dividends in which managers set target dividends based on adaptively-formed earnings prospects. We show that firms adjust dividends to their target payouts much faster than previously documented. When managers form future earnings expectations based on a longer time-series of earnings, target dividends tend to become more stable. Thus, actual dividends tend to be more in line with the targets, driving up the speed of adjustment. Our model offers an insight that sticky dividends could be a consequence of managers’ attempts to match dividend payouts with the smooth targets.
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