Dividends, Asymmetric Information, and Agency Conflicts: Evidence from a Comparison of the Dividend Policies of Japanese and U.S. Firms

  • Author(s): Kathryn L. Dewenter, Vincent A. Warther
  • Published: Dec 17, 2002
  • Pages: 879-904
  • DOI: 10.1111/0022-1082.00038

We compare dividend policies of U.S. and Japanese firms, partitioning the Japanese data into keiretsu, independent, and hybrid firms. We examine the correlation between dividend changes and stock returns, and the reluctance to change dividends. Results are consistent with the joint hypotheses that Japanese firms, particularly keiretsu‐member firms, face less information asymmetry and fewer agency conflicts than U.S. firms, and that information asymmetries and/or agency conflicts affect dividend policy. Japanese firms experience smaller stock price reactions to dividend omissions and initiations, they are less reluctant to omit and cut dividends, and their dividends are more responsive to earnings changes.

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