J&Apos;Accuse! Antisemitism and Financial Markets in the Time of the Dreyfus Affair
65 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 14 Jul 2021
Date Written: May 2020
This paper studies discrimination in financial markets in the context of the "Dreyfus Affair" in 19th century France. We analyze the market performance of firms with Jewish board members. Building on empirical evidence and a model with antisemitic and unbiased agents, we show how investors betting on firms with Jewish connections earned higher returns during the media campaign organized to rehabilitate Dreyfus, the Jewish officer at the center of the Affair. Our paper provides novel evidence that discrimination can affect stock prices and create rents for some market participants. While these rents may attract betting against discriminators, the uncertainty surrounding discriminatory beliefs can limit the extent of arbitrage and allow discrimination to survive in the long run.
JEL Classification: G14, G41, J15, J71, N23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation