Political risk and dividend policy: Evidence from international political crises

Tao Huang, Fei Wu, Jin Yu, Bohui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the impact of political risk on firms’ payout policy. Using a large international sample across 35 countries over the period from 1990 to 2008, we find that global political crises raise the market perceived uncertainty and cost of external financing. Using crisis events as a proxy for political risk, we document that past dividend payers are more likely to terminate dividends and that non-payers are less likely to initiate dividends during periods of high political risk. These findings suggest a precautionary incentive of managers in response to political shocks. Further analysis shows that the effect of political risk on payout policy is stronger for multinational corporations, but can be attenuated by country-specific institutional settings, such as more stable political systems and stronger investor legal protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574–595
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • political risk
  • dividend policy
  • multinational corporations
  • institutional settings


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