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Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange this month. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

The market can influence how people who own shares vote in U.S. presidential elections, a new study by Rice University and University of Pittsburgh examining the electoral implications of stock fluctuations finds.

The big picture: The study compares electoral preferences with levels of dividend income. It finds the effect of recent stock returns on votes for the incumbent party is stronger in counties with greater market participation. And it suggests that if the market had rebounded instead of falling in 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain may have won the states of Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio.

What they're saying: Alan Crane, a finance professor at Rice, told Bloomberg Sunday that if you’ve got a large amount of money invested in shares during a rising stock market "you’re going to support that incumbent party, because that’s good for you personally. "You have an opportunity for politicians to cater through this particular channel," he said.

Yes, but: The study does not definitively state that the market has a direct impact on election outcomes. As Bloomberg notes, "incumbent Democrats were booted out in 2000 after one of the biggest rallies ever."

Read the study:

Go deeper

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

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