Market volatility amidst political conflict and uncertainty
Beyer, Deborah B.
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
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In recent decades, rising economic policy uncertainty coupled with increasing levels of political polarization have impacted financial markets and by extension, investors in those markets. Literature has mainly focused its attention on one of these factors or the other, while few studies to date have examined their joint effects on stock market volatility. Yet politics and the economy are profoundly intertwined; they must be considered in tandem. Through a two-essay format, the objectives of this dissertation are to investigate the combined impact of economic policy uncertainty and partisan conflict on stock market volatility and further, to study the impact of partisan conflict in particular on politically sensitive industry volatility. Findings from Essay 1 provide evidence that economic policy uncertainty increases volatility, whereas partisan conflict reduces it. A deeper examination reveals that partisan conflict’s dampening effect exists only during periods of political gridlock. Essay 2 results show that partisan conflict also reduces industry-level volatility. Moreover, partisan conflict has a greater impact on reducing high politically sensitive industry volatility compared to industries with low political sensitivity. Results from both studies are meant to inform government policymakers, analysts, and investors of the effects these politically-related forces have on equity market volatility.
Stock exchanges and current events
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