We examine cash dividends and share repurchases from 1989 to 2005 in the 15 nations that were members of the European Union before May 2004. As in the United States, the fraction of European firms paying dividends declines, while total real dividends paid increase and share repurchases surge. We also show that financial reporting frequency is associated with higher payout, and that privatized companies account for almost one-quarter of total cash dividends and share repurchases. Our regression analyses indicate that increasing fractions of retained earnings to equity do not increase the likelihood of cash payouts, whereas company age does.
Journal of Financial Economics – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2008
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