Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Nishant Dass


The far-reaching economic effects of the pandemic provide an opportunity to study the responses of corporations to exogenous shocks and the subsequent uncertainty. I investigate how firm characteristics impact dividend payout and employment policy changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. I focus on firm characteristics and actions of Russell 1000 firms in 2020, a year that captures firm behavior before and after the height of the pandemic. My paper covers three areas: dividend payout policy, employment policy, and the interaction between the two during an unexpected year defined by COVID-19. I use bivariate and multinomial logistic regressions to analyze the relationship between firm characteristics and the outcome variables in my models. My results indicate that firms with larger debt, greater cash, and fewer growth prospects in the previous quarter are more likely to cut dividends. I do not find significant firm determinants of employment cuts. Furthermore, I find that there are few firm characteristics in my model that define whether a company will choose a policy that prioritizes shareholders or stakeholders, but firm characteristics are more predictive of policies in which either employment or dividend payouts were cut while the other was maintained or increased. I contribute to the divided literature on dividend payout and employment during times of uncertainty. My research adds to the limited literature on the interaction of dividend payout and employment policies. I also provide additional analysis into the actions of companies during the COVID-19 pandemic since existing literature is limited.