The Growth of Direct Payouts to Shareholders in Brazil: Tax Savings or Changing Characteristics of Firms?
This paper shows that the increase in the proportion of Brazilian publicly traded firms providing cash payouts between 1990 and 2003 was due to an increase in the propensity to pay and not to changes in the companies’ characteristics. Unlike in the United States, the current Brazilian tax structure favors cash payouts over capital gains. The tax structure also makes a distinction between dividends and interest on stockholders’ equity. The latter category has become the main way of cash distribution. Big firms with high profitability and low leverage are the most likely to make cash profit distributions.