CEO Political Ideology, Shareholder Primacy and Dividend Policy

CEO Political Ideology, Shareholder Primacy and Dividend Policy

Ali Bayat, Marc Goergen

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

January 20 2020

Last revised :

January 20 2020
SSRN Share


  • CEO Political Ideology • 
  • dividend policy • 
  • Stakeholder Theory • 
  • Corporate governance

We argue that CEOs have different attitudes toward the firm’s stakeholders and that these differences in attitudes affect the firm’s decision making. We hypothesize that these differences stem from differences in political ideology: Liberal CEOs, as compared to their conservative counterparts, pay less attention to shareholders and this is reflected in dividend policy.

To test the validity of our hypothesis, we measure CEO ideology by political donations. We study the CEOs of S&P 500 firms during 1997-2014 and find that firms with liberal CEOs are less likely to pay dividends and have significantly lower dividend payouts. In contrast, conservative CEOs pay more dividends, even if this requires redundancies.


Real name:
Ali Bayat
University of Aberdeen