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Legislating Stock Prices

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  • Lauren Cohen
  • Karl B. Diether
  • Christopher Malloy

Abstract

In this paper we demonstrate that legislation has a simple, yet previously undetected impact on firm stock prices. While it is understood that the government and firms have an important relationship, it remains difficult to determine which firms any given piece of legislation will affect, and how it will affect them. By observing the actions of legislators whose constituents are the affected firms, we can gather insights into the likely impact of government legislation on firms. Specifically, focusing attention on "interested" legislators' behavior captures important information seemingly ignored by the market. A long-short portfolio based on these legislators' views earns abnormal returns of over 90 basis points per month following the passage of legislation. Further, the more complex the legislation, the more difficulty the market has in assessing the impact of these bills. Consistent with the legislator incentive mechanism, the more concentrated the legislator's interest in the industry, the more informative are her votes for future returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Lauren Cohen & Karl B. Diether & Christopher Malloy, 2012. "Legislating Stock Prices," NBER Working Papers 18291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18291
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Reboredo, Juan C. & Wen, Xiaoqian, 2015. "Are China’s new energy stock prices driven by new energy policies?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 624-636.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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