IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Abnormal Returns from the Common Stock Investments of the U.S. Senate


  • Ziobrowski, Alan J.
  • Cheng, Ping
  • Boyd, James W.
  • Ziobrowski, Brigitte J.


The actions of the federal government can have a profound impact on financial markets. As prominent participants in the government decision making process, U.S. Senators are likely to have knowledge of forthcoming government actions before the information becomes public. This could provide them with an informational advantage over other investors. We test for abnormal returns from the common stock investments of members of the U.S. Senate during the period 1993–1998. We document that a portfolio that mimics the purchases of U.S. Senators beats the market by 85 basis points per month, while a portfolio that mimics the sales of Senators lags the market by 12 basis points per month. The large difference in the returns of stocks bought and sold (nearly one percentage point per month) is economically large and reliably positive.

Suggested Citation

  • Ziobrowski, Alan J. & Cheng, Ping & Boyd, James W. & Ziobrowski, Brigitte J., 2004. "Abnormal Returns from the Common Stock Investments of the U.S. Senate," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 661-676, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jfinqa:v:39:y:2004:i:04:p:661-676_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Alan D. Jagolinzer & David F. Larcker & Gaizka Ormazabal & Daniel J. Taylor, 2020. "Political Connections and the Informativeness of Insider Trades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1833-1876, August.
    2. Serkan Karadas, 2019. "Trading on Private Information: Evidence from Members of Congress," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 54(1), pages 85-131, February.
    3. Rey, Clément & Rey, Serge & Viala, Jean-Renaud, 2014. "Detection of high and low states in stock market returns with MCMC method in a Markov switching model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 145-155.
    4. Gao, Meng & Huang, Jiekun, 2016. "Capitalizing on Capitol Hill: Informed trading by hedge fund managers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 521-545.
    5. Ferguson, Thomas & Jorgensen, Paul & Chen, Jie, 2022. "How money drives US congressional elections: Linear models of money and outcomes," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 527-545.
    6. Stephan, Andrew P. & Walther, Beverly R. & Wellman, Laura A., 2021. "Profiting from connections: Do politicians receive stock tips from brokerage houses?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1).
    7. Serkan Karadas & Minh Tam Tammy Schlosky & Joshua Hall, 2021. "Did Politicians Use Non-Public Macroeconomic Information in Their Stock Trades? Evidence from the STOCK Act of 2012," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 14(6), pages 1-18, June.
    8. Cohen, Lauren & Diether, Karl & Malloy, Christopher, 2013. "Legislating stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 574-595.
    9. Ahmed Tahoun & Laurence van Lent, 2016. "The Personal Wealth Interests of Politicians and the Stabilization of Financial Markets," Working Papers Series 52, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    10. Chou, Hsin-I & Tian, Gloria Y. & Yin, Xiangkang, 2015. "Takeover rumors: Returns and pricing of rumored targets," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 13-27.
    11. William Belmont & Bruce Sacerdote & Ranjan Sehgal & Ian Van Hoek, 2020. "Relief Rally: Senators As Feckless As the Rest of Us at Stock Picking," NBER Working Papers 26975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Thomas Ferguson & Robert Johnson, 2013. "When wolves cry ‘wolf’: systemic financial crises and the myth of the Danaid Jar," Chapters, in: Louis-Philippe Rochon & Mario Seccareccia (ed.), Monetary Economies of Production, chapter 7, pages 73-98, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Jan Hanousek & Christos Pantzalis & Jung Chul Park, 2021. "Political Insider Trading: A narrow versus comprehensive approach," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2021-77, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    14. Borisova, Ginka & Yadav, Pradeep K., 2015. "Government ownership, informed trading, and private information," CFR Working Papers 15-13, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    15. Mirzokhidjon Abdurakhmonov & Roary E. Snider & Jason W. Ridge & Dinesh Hasija, 2023. "Perceptions of political Self‐Dealing? An empirical investigation of market returns surrounding the disclosure of politician stock purchases," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(5), pages 1168-1198, May.
    16. Brodmann, Jennifer & Unsal, Omer & Hassan, M. Kabir, 2019. "Political lobbying, insider trading, and CEO compensation," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 548-565.
    17. Jacques Jaussaud & Sophie Nivoix & Serge Rey, 2015. "The Great East Japan Earthquake and Stock Prices," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(2), pages 1237-1261.
    18. Serkan Karadas, 2018. "Family ties and informed trading: evidence from Capitol Hill," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 42(2), pages 211-248, April.
    19. Borisova, Ginka & Yadav, Pradeep K., 2015. "Government ownership, informed trading, and private information," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 196-211.
    20. Tahoun, Ahmed, 2014. "The role of stock ownership by US members of Congress on the market for political favors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 86-110.
    21. Platikanova, Petya, 2017. "Investor-legislators: Tax holiday for politically connected firms," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 380-398.
    22. Kejia Yan & Rakesh Gupta & Sama Haddad, 2022. "Statistical Analysis Dow Jones Stock Index—Cumulative Return Gap and Finite Difference Method," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 15(2), pages 1, February.
    23. Lonnie L. Bryant, 2016. "Bank Diversification and Future Stock Price Performance: Evidence from Post-Acquisition Returns after the GLBA," Accounting and Finance Research, Sciedu Press, vol. 5(1), pages 137-137, February.
    24. Braam, Geert & Nandy, Monomita & Weitzel, Utz & Lodh, Suman, 2015. "Accrual-based and real earnings management and political connections," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 111-141.
    25. Hauser, Florian & Schredelseker, Klaus, 2018. "Who benefits from insider regulation?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 203-210.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jfinqa:v:39:y:2004:i:04:p:661-676_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Kirk Stebbing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.