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The role of stock ownership by US members of Congress on the market for political favors


  • Tahoun, Ahmed


I examine whether stock ownership by politicians helps to enforce noncontractible quid pro quo relations with firms. The ownership by US Congress members in firms contributing to their election campaigns is higher than in noncontributors. This bias toward contributors depends on the financial incentives of politicians and the relation's value. Firms with a stronger ownership–contribution association receive more government contracts. The financial gains from these contracts are economically large. When politicians divest stocks, firms discontinue contributions to the politicians, lose future contracts, and perform poorly. Politicians divest the stocks in contributors, but not in noncontributors, in anticipation of retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:111:y:2014:i:1:p:86-110 DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2013.10.008

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    Cited by:

    1. Jagolinzer, Alan D. & Larcker, David F. & Ormazabal, Gaizka & Taylor, Daniel, 2017. "Political Connections and the Informativeness of Insider Trades," CEPR Discussion Papers 12153, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Kermani, Amir & Kwak, James & Mitton, Todd, 2016. "The value of connections in turbulent times: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 368-391.
    3. Hassan, Tarek & Hollander, Stephan & Tahoun, Ahmed & van Lent, Laurence, 2017. "Firm-level political risk: Measurement and effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 12436, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Smith, Jared D., 2016. "US political corruption and firm financial policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 350-367.
    5. Jackowicz, Krzysztof & Kozłowski, Łukasz & Mielcarz, Paweł, 2014. "Political connections and operational performance of non-financial firms: New evidence from Poland," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 109-135.
    6. Aggey Semenov & Hector Perez Saiz, 2014. "The Effect Of Campaign Contributions On State Banking Regulation And Bank Expansion In U.S," 2014 Meeting Papers 1265, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Cole, John A. & Cadogan, Godfrey, 2014. "Bankruptcy risk induced by career concerns of regulators," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 259-271.
    8. Zhang, Min & Liu, Yaosong & Xie, Lu & Ye, Tingting, 2017. "Does the cutoff of “red capital” raise a red flag? Political connections and stock price crash risk," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 89-109.
    9. Ozlem Akin & Nicholas S. Coleman & Christian Fons-Rosen & José-Luis Peydró, 2016. "Political Connections: Evidence From Insider Trading Around TARP," Working Papers 935, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    10. Paul Calluzzo & G Nathan Dong & David Godsell, 2017. "Sovereign wealth fund investments and the US political process," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(2), pages 222-243, February.
    11. Ahmed Tahoun & Florin P. Vasvari, 2016. "Political Lending," Working Papers Series 47, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    12. repec:eee:corfin:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:51-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Correia, Maria M., 2014. "Political connections and SEC enforcement," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 241-262.

    More about this item


    Portfolio choice; Politics of financial markets; Government contracts; Politicians–firms relation; Investment by politicians;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation


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