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The Jeffords Effect

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  • Seema Jayachandran

Abstract

In May 2001, Senator James Jeffords left the Republican Party and tipped control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats. This paper uses the surprise event to demonstrate what I term the "Jeffords effect": changes in the political landscape have large effects on the market value of firms. I use a firm's soft-money donations to the national parties as the measure of how the firm aligns itself politically. In this event study, a firm lost .8 percent of market capitalization the week of Jeffords's switch for every $250,000 it gave to the Republicans in the previous election cycle. On the basis of the point estimates, the stock price gain associated with Democratic donations is smaller than the loss associated with Republican donations, but the estimates are consistent with the effects being equal and opposite. The results withstand several robustness checks, and the effects appear to persist over time.
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  • Seema Jayachandran, 2004. "The Jeffords Effect," UCLA Economics Online Papers 297, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:uclaol:297
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    1. Kroszner, Randall S & Stratmann, Thomas, 1998. "Interest-Group Competition and the Organization of Congress: Theory and Evidence from Financial Services' Political Action Committees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1163-1187, December.
    2. Michael C. Herron & James Lavin & Donald Cram & Jay Silver, 1999. "Measurement of Political Effects in the United States Economy: A Study of the 1992 Presidential Election," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(1), pages 51-81, March.
    3. Stratmann, Thomas, 1998. "The Market for Congressional Votes: Is Timing of Contributions Everything?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 85-113, April.
    4. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder Jr, 2003. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 105-130, Winter.
    5. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder, 2003. "Why Is There So Little Money in Politics?," NBER Working Papers 9409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:84:y:1990:i:03:p:797-820_19 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Stratmann, Thomas, 2002. "Can Special Interests Buy Congressional Votes? Evidence from Financial Services Legislation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 345-373, October.
    8. Bronars, Stephen G & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. "Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes? Or, Do Donors Support Candidates Who Value the Same Things That They Do?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 317-350, October.
    9. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
    10. David P. Baron, 1989. "Service-Induced Campaign Contributions and the Electoral Equilibrium," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(1), pages 45-72.
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