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Corporate governance and dividend policy: Evidence of tunneling from master limited partnerships

Julian Atanassov and Aaron J. Mandell

Journal of Corporate Finance, 2018, vol. 53, issue C, 106-132

Abstract: Using a sample of 85 Delaware master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) from 2004 to 2016, we examine the relation between cash dividend policy and the strength of corporate governance measured by contractual governance provisions, such as fiduciary waiver, mandatory distributions, and voting rights, and by ownership structure. We find support for the tunneling model of dividend determination. Specifically, we document that firms with weaker governance pay out more cash dividends than better governed firms. We also find that, in the presence of low quality governance, these payments reduce firm value as well as the value of the firm's cash holdings, suggesting that they are viewed by the market as a tunneling (extraction) of resources by the general partner at the expense of limited unitholders.

Keywords: Corporate governance; Dividend policy; Master limited partnerships; Tunneling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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