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Does sustainability affect dividend policy?: A panel data study on Nordic firms
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the relationship between corporate sustainability and dividend policy in the Nordic countries. In the field of finance, the importance of corporate sustainability is growing, particularly in the Nordic countries, which excel in global sustainability rankings. In response to this occurrence many firms are increasingly incorporating sustainability into their operations, which in turn might affect the strategic decisions of these firms. One of these is the dividend policy decision. Dividend policy in the form of cash dividends is a central concept in finance and is affected by conservation of capital and time value of money. The purpose of this study is to clarify the relationship between sustainability and dividend policy, which the authors have done by including different theoretical arguments. These are grounded in the agency theory, the signaling theory and the stakeholder theory. Previous research such as Benlemlih (2019) has examined the relationship between sustainability and dividends, but not in the same regional setting. ESG is used as a proxy for sustainability, while two proxies are used for dividend policy; dividend payout ratio and dividend yield. Through a quantitative approach information is collected on the ESG score and dividend data using the Thomson Reuters Eikon database and then analyzed using regression analysis. The data spans over 10 years (2008-2018) and covers 117 firms with available ESG and dividend payout data. 

The findings indicate that there is a significant relationship between the ESG score and the dividend payout ratio of Nordic firms, while the dividend yield has no relationship with the ESG score. As both measurements had positive coefficients, the authors determined that there is a positive relationship between sustainability and dividend policy. Based on the findings, the excess liquidity hypothesis was dismissed, while the authors concluded that there was support for and against the overinvesting hypothesis and the signaling hypothesis. The authors believe one possible explanation for these mixed results could be due to the regional setting, as it differs from the settings of previous studies.

By illustrating the relationship between corporate sustainability and dividend policy, this study could be of interest to large and medium sized firms in the Nordic countries that use business strategies involving ESG practices or consider implementing such strategies. Similarly, it could be used by investors that use ESG-screening as a decision criterion when investing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 63
Keywords [en]
Dividend policy, Dividend payout ratio, ESG, Sustainability, Agency theory, Signaling theory
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-160497OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-160497DiVA, id: diva2:1327377
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Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-19 Created: 2019-06-19 Last updated: 2019-06-19Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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