Current payout policy literature contends that firms’ propensity to pay dividends declined between 1978 and 1998. Using the Oaxaca decomposition methodology, we measure changes in the propensity to pay dividends between 1978 and 1998. Results suggest that firms today have only a slightly lower propensity to pay dividends. Furthermore, when we also categorize firms that use stock repurchases as dividend payers, we find that 100% of the decline in the proportion of dividend payers can be explained by changes in firm characteristics only. The difference is that firms that firms are now repurchasing stock instead of paying dividends.
Chahyadi, Candra S. and Salas, Jesus M., "Not paying dividends? A decomposition of the decline in dividend payers" (2010). Faculty Research & Creative Activity. 11.