There is quite a lot of academic research supporting this belief - and Allianz Global Investors has provided some further more recent positive evidence supporting the attractiveness of dividend shares.
The paper is entitled 'Dividend stocks – an attractive addition to a portfolio' and it provides some new analysis of the recent behaviour of dividend shares in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the US.
- Real European and US bond yields are currently negative, making dividend stocks an attractive addition to fixed-income investments.
- European and Asian-Pacific (excluding Japanese) companies are particularly generous and pay out much of their profits to investors whereas US companies tend to prefer share buybacks, which are a more flexible payout vehicle.
- Dividends contributed about 44 % to the overall, annualised returns of equity investments in the MSCI Europe between 1970 and end-August 2011. (Source: Datastream)
- Dividend payouts tend to be steadier than corporate profits.
- Dividend stocks also have tended to be subject to smaller price fluctuations than the overall market.
- Stocks with high dividend returns usually showed a better risk-return profile than the overall market in the past.
The paper does contain some warnings - particularly that past performance is not always a reliable guide to the future. There are also risks:
"The search for dividend earnings carries risks, however, and should not be observed in an entirely uncritical manner. When buying shares, dividend earnings can sometimes give the wrong signals. It is assumed that the current payments will remain stable in future, but that is not always the case. For example, until the middle of 2007 financial stocks were paying glittering dividends. But the onset of the financial crisis brought huge falls in share prices - and company profits and dividend payments crashed with them."
Finally, there is reference to the role of yield in identifying out-of-favour shares:
"Ultimately, high dividend yields suggest that market participants are already pessimistic about future corporate profit developments and that most of the risks have been priced in. As soon as there are more signs of a pick-up in risk appetite and an economic stabilisation investors might benefit from investments in high-dividend stocks."
So, many of my investing biases are reinforced. And, reassuringly, in Europe we appear to have one of the best market environments for successful dividend investing.
I am not a financial adviser and the information provided does not constitute financial advice. You should always do your own research on top of what you learn here to ensure that it's right for your specific circumstances.