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Party Influence in Congress and the Economy

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  • Erik Snowberg
  • Justin Wolfers
  • Eric Zitzewitz

Abstract

To understand the extent to which partisan majorities in Congress influence economic policy, we compare financial market responses in recent midterm elections to Presidential elections. We use prediction markets tracking election outcomes as a means of precisely timing and calibrating the arrival of news, allowing substantially more precise estimates than a traditional event study methodology. We find that equity values, oil prices, and Treasury yields are slightly higher with Republican majorities in Congress, and that a switch in the majority party in a chamber of Congress has an impact that is only 10-30 percent of that of the Presidency. We also find evidence inconsistent with the popular view that divided government is better for equities, finding instead that equity valuations increase monotonically, albeit slightly, with the degree of Republican control.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12751.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12751

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  1. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Interpreting prediction market prices as probabilities," Working Paper Series 2006-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. V. V. Chari & Larry E. Jones & Ramon Marimon, 1997. "The economics of split-ticket voting in representative democracies," Working Papers 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Snowberg, Erik & Wolfers, Justin & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2006. "Partisan Impacts on the Economy: Evidence from Prediction Markets and Close Elections," IZA Discussion Papers 1996, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  5. Scholes, Myron & Williams, Joseph, 1977. "Estimating betas from nonsynchronous data," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 309-327, December.
  6. Seema Jayachandran, 2004. "The Jeffords Effect," UCLA Economics Online Papers 297, UCLA Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Raphaël Godefroy, 2010. "The birth of the congressional clinic," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564921, HAL.
  2. Quoc-Anh Do & Yen-Teik Lee & Bang Dang Nguyen & Kieu-Trang Nguyen, 2012. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Value of Political Connections in Social Networks," Working Papers 22-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  3. Snowberg, Erik & Wolfers, Justin & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2011. "How Prediction Markets Can Save Event Studies," CEPR Discussion Papers 8351, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Raphaël Godefroy, 2010. "The birth of the congressional clinic," Working Papers halshs-00564921, HAL.
  5. Masami Imai & Cameron A. Shelton, 2010. "Elections and Political Risk: New Evidence from Political Prediction Markets in Taiwan," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2010-001, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  6. Imai, Masami & Shelton, Cameron A., 2011. "Elections and political risk: New evidence from the 2008 Taiwanese Presidential Election," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 837-849.

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