The purpose of our study is to explore what types of information content are conveyed by dividends on future earnings. We examine this issue by investigating the effect of dividends on the association between current year stock returns and future earnings (i.e. the future earnings response coefficient, FERC). Based on exploring the Taiwan market, our results reveal that taxable stock dividends enhance the FERC while nontaxable stock dividends do not, consistent with the tax-based signaling argument. We also find a positive relation between cash dividends and the FERC in firms with severe free cash flow problems, and this suggests that higher cash payouts mitigate manager over-investment so future earnings are more highly valued, consistent with the agency argument. Our main contributions are to specify what factors make dividends informative with regard to future earnings and the provision of evidence to support the tax-based signaling model.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 12, 2012
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