The impact of influential shareholders on corporate dividend policy: Evidence from Russia
Purpose: This study examines the impact of influential shareholders, namely, state and influential businessmen, on the dividend policies of firms. A special focus is made on the causal effect of exogenous changes: general and personal economic sanctions leading to toughened state policies concerning dividends.
Design/methodology/approach: Ninety Russian firms included into the Moscow Stock Exchange Broad Market Index were examined for a period from 2009 to 2019 using a generalized method of moments and tobit model. The effect of personal sanctions was elucidated with the use of difference-in-differences method with multiple time periods.
Findings: The analysis showed that, government or businessmen’s ownership does not affect dividend payments. However, after 2014, state-owned companies began to increase their payments. At the same time, owing to a series of changes triggered by general economic sanctions, businessmen-owned companies decrease their dividends payout ratio. Personal sanctions imposed do not have long-term effect on Russian companies’ dividends.
Originality/value: This study estimates the effect of ownership structure on dividend payouts after an exogenous changes. The results show that there is heterogeneity in influential owners' decisions regarding dividends and changes strengthening it.