This study examines whether dividend payout, an internal corporate governance mechanism, is a substitute for or an outcome of product market competition, an external corporate governance mechanism. The sample includes firms in six of the world’s most prominent economies. We find that firms in more competitive industries pay less in the way of dividends to their shareholders, which is consistent with the notion that dividends and competition are substitutes. We also determine that the above negative relationship is weaker in countries with stronger regulation protecting minority shareholders against corporate self-dealing. Furthermore, the relationship has attenuated following the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that increased regulation and enhanced governance standards. Collectively, our findings provide consistent evidence across countries that the two corporate governance mechanisms examined in the study are substitutes, and greater regulation weakens the substitution effect. Our empirical findings are robust to alternative measures of dividend payout, industry definition, and shareholder protection.
Alexander, B., Ferris, S.P. and Sabherwal, S. (2018), "Are Dividends an Outcome of or a Substitute for External Corporate Governance? International Evidence Based on Product Market Competition", International Corporate Governance and Regulation (Advances in Financial Economics, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 57-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1569-373220180000020003
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