Tuesday, June 25, 2019

More lobbying with economic concentration through corporate mergers and acquisitions & to defend themselves against increasingly liberal Democrats

The Political and Economic Roots of Corporate Political Activity. William Massengill. 2019, PhD Thesis, Ohio State University, Political Science. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1553961091240596

Abstract: Scholars, journalists, and pundits frequently bemoan the rising involvement of large corporations in American politics. But the ability of firms to influence policymakers often depends on features of their political and economic environments, as well as internal constraints, such as organizational structure and business decisions. Unfortunately, however, we know relatively little about how some of the most important recent political and economic trends affect firm political decisions. This dissertation uses novel data to examine how two of these trends - party polarization in American legislatures and economic concentration through corporate mergers and acquisitions - affect the lobbying efforts and PAC contributions of large corporations. I find that, in some ways, each of these trends increases corporate political involvement. Specifically, corporations lobby more, and harder, as legislatures polarize, but they do so primarily in response to rising liberalism among Democrats. I also find that corporate acquisitions prompt purchasers to become more politically engaged. After acquiring a large firm (i.e., a target firm), purchasers direct PAC contributions to more candidates, many of whom were supported by the target prior to the acquisition. In addition, purchasers increase their lobbying efforts to some extent: they hire more lobbyists and lobby on more bills. These results suggest that the rising economic power of large firms has facilitated their increasingly intense involvement in American politics. In acquiring other firms, purchasers obtain political as well as economic resources. And they appear to use these resources to defend their interests against increasingly liberal Democrats.

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