Can Disclosure Quality Explain Dividend Payouts?

  •  Dan Lin    
  •  Hsien-Chang Kuo    
  •  Lie-Huey Wang    


This study investigates how a firm’s disclosure quality affects its dividend policy. Using a sample of Canadian firms with disclosure data from The Globe and Mail, we empirically test the outcome hypothesis and the substitution hypothesis. The outcome hypothesis posits that dividends are an outcome of an effective governance regime and complements other governance mechanisms while the substitution hypothesis argues that dividend payout is a substitute for other forms of governance. Since disclosure quality can reflect the severeness of agency problems between outsiders and insiders, the outcome hypothesis predicts that higher disclosure quality would lead to higher dividend payouts while the substitution hypothesis predicts that lower disclosure quality is associated with higher payouts. This study contributes to the ongoing debate on the relationship between disclosure quality and dividend policy. Our results provide support for the outcome hypothesis; specifically, better disclosure quality is associated with both a stronger propensity to pay dividends and among dividend payers, with larger dividends.

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