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The Presidential Puzzle: Political Cycles and the Stock Market

Author

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  • Pedro Santa-Clara

    (The Anderson School, University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Rossen Valkanov

    (The Anderson School, University of California, Los Angeles)

Abstract

The excess return in the stock market is higher under Democratic than Republican presidencies: 9 percent for the value-weighted and 16 percent for the equal-weighted portfolio. The difference comes from higher real stock returns and lower real interest rates, is statistically significant, and is robust in subsamples. The difference in returns is not explained by business-cycle variables related to expected returns, and is not concentrated around election dates. There is no difference in the riskiness of the stock market across presidencies that could justify a risk premium. The difference in returns through the political cycle is therefore a puzzle. Copyright (c) 2003 by the American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Santa-Clara & Rossen Valkanov, 2003. "The Presidential Puzzle: Political Cycles and the Stock Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 1841-1872, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:58:y:2003:i:5:p:1841-1872
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