Members of the House of Representatives considerably outperform the stock market in their personal investments, according to a new academic study.
Four university researchers examined 16,000 common stock transactions made by approximately 300 House representatives from 1985 to 2001, and found what they call "significant positive abnormal returns," with portfolios based on congressional trades beating the market by about 6 percent annually.
What's their secret? The report speculates, but does not conclude, it could have something to do with the ability members of Congress have to trade on non-public information or to vote their own pocketbooks -- or both.
A study of senators by the same team of researchers five years ago found members of the higher chamber even better at beating the market -- outperforming it by about 10 percent, an amount the academics said was "both economically large and statistically significant."
"Being one of 435, as opposed to one of 100, is likely to result in a significant dilution of power relative to members of the Senate," the researchers wrote.
The researchers, Alan J. Ziobrowski of Georgia State University, James W. Boyd of Lindenwood University, Ping Cheng of Florida Atlantic University and Brigitte J. Ziobrowski of Augusta State University, noted that the circumstances are ripe for abuse.
"In the course of performing their normal duties, members of Congress have access to non-public information that could have a substantial impact on certain businesses, industries or the economy as a whole. If used as the basis for common stock transactions, such information could yield significant personal trading profits," they wrote.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost