This paper examines the hypothesis that agency costs are a primary factor motivating dividend payments. Norohna et al. (1996) present evidence that the agency cost rationale is context specific and that dividends will not be driven by agency costs when other mechanisms exist for controlling agency problems. We argue that regulation of bank holding companies involves a context specific case where agency costs may be less relevant. Using an empirical methodology similar to Born and Rimbey's (1993), we find that the abnormal returns associated with dividend announcements by bank holding companies are not related to their external financing activities. The monitoring activities of the capital markets are not a rationale for dividend payments in the presence of bank regulation. Our results are robust to an alternative explanation involving the signaling role of new equity financings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics