Determinants of Dividend Payout in Unlisted Spanish Family and Non-Family Firms


  • João Borralho School of Economics Sciences and Organizations, TRIE, University Lusofona, Portugal Portugal
  • Maria Isabel Duarte School of Economics Sciences and Organizations, TRIE, University Lusofona, Portugal Portugal



Dividends, Family firms, Transparency, Unlisted companies


The present study analyzes dividends paid in unlisted family and non-family businesses, exploring factors that lead to higher or lower dividend payments. Data from 612 Spanish companies during 12 consecutive years was analyzed. This study indicates that family businesses, as a result of the greater proximity of the family to the business, pay lower dividends. However, we found evidence of higher dividends paid in pyramid structures, susceptible to higher agency costs, both in family and non-family businesses. In family businesses, this can be explained by their aim to maintain levels of trust with minority interests, and in non-family businesses by the purpose to mitigate conflicts of interest as a consequence of greater autonomy of subsidiaries. The evidence obtained adds value to the investigation, which has generally been focused on listed companies. Considering that unlisted companies use the dividend policy to align divergent interests, especially in more fragile governance structures, the results contribute to reduce the gap in research, and have practical implications for companies and investors.


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How to Cite

Borralho, J., & Duarte, M. I. (2022). Determinants of Dividend Payout in Unlisted Spanish Family and Non-Family Firms. European Journal of Family Business, 12(2), 124–136.



Research article (SI)