Using a unique Swedish database that records the ultimate stockholdings in public firms, we decompose stock ownership by domiciles using votes rather than cashflows. We then study the impact of variables related to the lifecycle theory of dividends and the catering theory of dividends. We also examine the propensity of firms to pay dividends and/or activate a stock buyback program. Univariate analysis reveals a positive association between a firm's maturity and its likelihood to pay dividends. Logistic regression finds a positive relation between payouts and retained earnings to total assets. Foreign institutional investors are less likely to hold dividend-paying stocks than domestic institutional investors. The analysis finds no support for the catering theory of dividends. After controlling for stock ownership, our evidence is consistent with the lifecycle theory of dividends, which states that more mature firms are associated with dividends. It also supports the transaction cost hypothesis claiming that foreign investors face additional administrative costs when holding dividend-paying stocks.
- Institutional holdings
- Payout policy