Please note that prior to May 2019, the Stanford King Center on Global Development was known as the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.
A new study by Center affiliate and Graduate School of Business Associate Professor of Politial Economy Saumitra Jha found that giving Israelis a short, though intensive, opportunity to trade stocks made them markedly more eager to negotiate a peace with Palestinians. People became less likely to vote for Benjamin Netanyahu’s harder-line Likud Party, more supportive of a two-state solution with Palestine, and more willing to make concessions to get a deal.
Perhaps more surprising, that heightened support for peace had staying power. Even though the stock-trading study lasted only seven weeks, and involved modest sums of money, the change in political attitudes was still apparent one year later.
“This was really a story about learning,” says Jha. “When people began investing in stocks, they became engaged and started to learn. They could see that stock prices rose if peace negotiations were re-starting and that prices went down if the peace process was collapsing. It changed their attitudes toward the peace process and their voting preferences.”