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Why Has the Stock Market Risen So Much Since the US Presidential Election?


  • Olivier J Blanchard

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Christopher G. Collins

    () (Federal Reserve Board of Governors)

  • Mohammad R. Jahan-Parvar

    () (Federal Reserve Board of Governors)

  • Thomas Pellet

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Beth Anne Wilson

    () (Federal Reserve Board of Governors)


Immediately following the US presidential election in November 2016, many economists were concerned that increased uncertainty over economic policy would lead to a decline in the US stock market. From the time of the election to the end of 2017, however, the stock market, as measured by the Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500 index, increased by about 25 percent. Price swings since then have led investors and economists to increasingly ask: Was the stock market rise justified by an increase in actual and expected future dividends, or did it reflect unhealthy price developments, which may reverse in the future? This Policy Brief examines the movement of stock market prices from the time of the election to the end of 2017. It concludes that a bit more than one half of the run-up in the S&P 500 can be explained by an increase in actual and expected dividends. The effects of the perceived probability that a corporate tax cut bill would pass Congress account for 2 to 6 percentage points of this increase. The rest can be attributed to a decrease of less than 100 basis points in the equity premium, a decrease that leaves it roughly equal to where it was in the mid-2000s. Lower uncertainty in the rest of the world, in particular in Europe, more than offset the higher policy uncertainty in the United States following the 2016 presidential election and can plausibly justify this decrease in the equity premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier J Blanchard & Christopher G. Collins & Mohammad R. Jahan-Parvar & Thomas Pellet & Beth Anne Wilson, 2018. "Why Has the Stock Market Risen So Much Since the US Presidential Election?," Policy Briefs PB18-4, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:pbrief:pb18-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "Stock Prices, Earnings and Expected Dividends," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 858, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
    3. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2016. "Measuring Economic Policy Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1593-1636.
    4. Myron J. Gordon & Eli Shapiro, 1956. "Capital Equipment Analysis: The Required Rate of Profit," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(1), pages 102-110, October.
    5. John H. Cochrane, 2008. "The Dog That Did Not Bark: A Defense of Return Predictability," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 1533-1575, July.
    6. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1988. " Stock Prices, Earnings, and Expected Dividends," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 661-676, July.
    7. Wagner, Alexander F. & Zeckhauser, Richard J. & Ziegler, Alexandre, 2018. "Company stock price reactions to the 2016 election shock: Trump, taxes, and trade," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(2), pages 428-451.
    8. Møller, Stig V. & Sander, Magnus, 2017. "Dividends, earnings, and predictability," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 153-163.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shehu Usman Rano, Aliyu, 2019. "Do presidential elections affect stock market returns in Nigeria?," MPRA Paper 95466, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 07 Aug 2019.

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    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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