Asetting in which customer-owned mutual companies converted to publicly listed firms created a plausibly exogenous increase in stock ownership. We use this shock to identify the effect of ownership of publicly listed shares on political behavior. Using instrumental variable regressions, difference-in-differences analyses, and matching methods, we find the shock changed the way people vote in the affected areas, with the demutualizations being followed by a 1.7-2.7-percentage-point increase in right-of-center vote share. Analyses of demutualizations that did not involve public listing of shares suggest that explanations based on wealth, liquidity, and tax-related incentives do not drive the results, and that the ownership of publicly listed shares was instrumental in generating the increase in conservative voting.
- Political Behavior
- Stock Ownership