What drives dividend smoothing? A meta regression analysis of the Lintner model

Erik Fernau, Stefan Hirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We revisit the view of dividend smoothing as one of the most robust findings in the empirical corporate finance literature by employing meta-regression analysis (MRA). Using 99 empirical studies that employ Lintner's dividend payout model we investigate the heterogeneity in reported dividend smoothing effects. We find evidence for (i) a mediocre degree of dividend smoothing across the analyzed literature, (ii) bi-directional publication bias -i.e. a tendency to preferably report positive and statistically significant smoothing as well as dividend smoothing coefficients close to zero (i.e. high speed of adjustment coefficients), and (iii) several drivers for the heterogeneity in reported smoothing coefficients such as the set of control variables or estimation technique. Our MRA can provide guidance for investors' expectations and future research on dividend smoothing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-273
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Review of Financial Analysis
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Dividend smoothing
  • Lintner model
  • Meta regression analysis
  • Publication bias


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