Essays in empirical corporate finance
Chapter one of this dissertation provides new evidence on the existence of dividend clienteles for institutional investors. We directly examine individual institutions' preferences for dividend paying stocks based on the characteristics of stocks held in their portfolio. Many institutions follow persistent investment styles, maintaining relatively high or low dividend yield portfolios over time. Institutions which hold portfolios of higher yielding stocks are significantly more likely to increase their holdings in response to a dividend increase or sell their stock in response to a decrease. For a subset of institutions, we directly observe the proportion of their portfolio managed on behalf of taxable clients. Consistent with tax-induced dividend clienteles, institutions with more taxable clients are less likely to increase their holdings in response to a dividend increase. Finally, we show that stock price reactions to announcements of dividend increases are related to characteristics of the institutions holding the stock. Our results suggest that tax status, as well as other factors are important in explaining observed clientele behavior. Chapter two explores the determinants of heterogeneity in institutional investor portfolio preferences and the relationship between institutions and the clients they serve. I find that the characteristics of an institution's clients and the characteristics of the institution itself are both important determinants of portfolio preferences and trading behavior. Specifically, I find that institutions traditionally subject to prudent investor laws are more likely to invest in high quality stocks, although, institutions sub-managing money for pension funds are less prudent than pension managers themselves. In addition, I find that institutions with taxable clients are likely to avoid unnecessary dividend taxation and turn over their portfolios less frequently. More generally, institutions exhibit systematic shifts in their exposure to common risk factors that may be explained in part by the levels and changes in client composition. While evidence for a causal link between client shifts and institutional preferences is limited to mutual funds, contemporaneous changes in clients and portfolio characteristics suggest that the dynamics of institutional investment are closely related to the nature of the clients served.