Exploring the Anatomy of Firm Payouts: Who Pays, How Much and When?

with Abhay Abhyankar.


We investigate the anatomy of corporate payouts — dividends and stock repurchases. Specifically, we use firm-level data to understand which firms drive the changing patterns of payouts over time and in the cross-section. Our work extends the current literature by studying firms payouts based on industry sectors, firm age and other attributes. We find that dividends are not only concentrated among a relatively small group of mature firms, but also among industry groups. In contrast, stock repurchases are undertaken by a more diverse group of firms. Moreover, we find that dividends and stock repurchases are concentrated in firms listed in certain specific years and that it is the youngest and the oldest firms who are the main responsible for the growth of dividends and repurchases after 2001. Finally, our evidence confirms that the biggest firms by market capitalization are not always those that pay the largest dividends and that the drivers of these differences are not the same over the whole sample period.

JEL Classification:  G35