Agency Cost and Dividend Pay-out: A Study of Selected Listed Manufacturing Firms in Nigeria

Helen Obiageli Anazonwu, Francis Chinedu Egbunike, Felix Nwaolisa Echekoba, Ardi Gunardi


Agency cost is an internal cost which arises between management (agent) and shareholder (principal), because of the diverging interest of the two parties. Dividend payments are often employed to mitigate this cost. Studies have examined the effect of dividend pay-outs on agency costs documenting mixed findings. However, the literature on the reverse effect of agency costs on dividend pay-outs is still nascent. The main objective of the study is to examine the effect of agency cost on dividend pay-out of listed manufacturing firms in Nigeria. The study used a panel research design. The population of the study comprised listed manufacturing firms, but delimited to firms in conglomerate and consumer goods sectors of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Data for the study were collected from yearly financial statements of the selected firms. The hypotheses were tested using pooled OLS Regression. The dependent variable of the study was dividend pay-out, while assets to sales ratio, leverage, and free cash flow were proxies of agency cost. Firm size and profitability measures (ROA and ROE) were used as control variables in the study. The study found a significant and positive effect of assets to sales ratio and free cash flow, and a significant and negative effect of leverage on dividend pay-out. The study recommended amongst others that, managers should consider the implication of agency costs in the design of in the design and implementation of a dividend policy.


agency cost, assets to sales ratio, financial leverage, free cash flow, dividend policy


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