Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Associate in Science

First Advisor

Ahmad Etebari


In this study I examine the impact presidential elections have had on health care stock returns. Through my own data collection and analysis, I sought to examine the performance of stocks across election cycles in addition to the performance of healthcare stocks across election cycles. Using data from 1998-2019 I find that 1.) In election years, the stock market underperforms relative to non-election years; 2.) Healthcare stocks underperform the broader market during election years; 3.) The impact on healthcare stocks is consistently poor in election years yet contained to only that year; 4.) The Presidential Election Cycle, stating that stocks underperform in the first half of a presidential term and underperform in the back half, does not fully hold true in the twenty-first century. I attribute the results to the fact that health care stocks are further affected by political developments and regulation in addition to a significant increase in media coverage surrounding presidential elections in the twenty-first century. As healthcare becomes a larger part of the US economy, the necessity for the government to step in and regulate has increased dramatically in the past few decades, leading to stocks in the sector being more susceptible to changes in government and policy. As society has entered a new age of technology and media, coverage of political events has increased dramatically leading to more coverage, opinions and rhetoric surrounding elections. This has caused traders to react more heavily to events surrounding the political arena throughout the year, driving underperformance in the market and in healthcare stocks.