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Determinants and Impact of Private Politics: An Empirical Analysis

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  • Gupta, Sonam
  • Innes, Robert
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the links between private politics, environmental performance of firms and regulatory activity by the government. Following the terminology coined by Baron (2001), "private politics" refers to the individual or collective actions initiated by public interest and activist groups to further their objectives without relying on the law or regulation. In this paper, we focus on the determinants and effects of two such private political actions, boycotts and proxy contests. We have unique data on boycotts for the time period 1988-95 and on proxy votes for the time period 1988-2000. We find that the size of a firm is an important predictor of the fact if a firm will be chosen as a target of an activist campaign. We find MIXED support for Baron's (2006) theory that activist campaigns will focus on "soft targets" (progressive firms). Our preliminary findings show that private politics does spur the firms to adopt voluntary environmental systems. Specifically, we find that the boycotts increase the probability of adoption of an environmental management system by 27-33 percent.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida with number 6238.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:6238

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    Keywords: Political Economy;

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    1. Anton, W.R.Q.Wilma Rose Q. & Deltas, George & Khanna, Madhu, 2004. "Incentives for environmental self-regulation and implications for environmental performance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 632-654, July.
    2. Baron, David P., 2002. "Private Politics and Private Policy: A Theory of Boycotts," Research Papers 1766, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    3. Khanna, Madhu & Damon, Lisa A., 1999. "EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic Releases and Economic Performance of Firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
    4. Maxwell, John W & Lyon, Thomas P & Hackett, Steven C, 2000. "Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 583-617, October.
    5. Siew Hong Teoh & Christopher Paul Wazzan & Ivo Welch, 1996. "The Effect Of Socially Activist Investment Policies On The Financial Markets: Evidence From The South African Boycott," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm70, Yale School of Management.
    6. Baron, David P., 2006. "A Positive Theory of Moral Management, Social Pressure, and Corporate Social Performance," Research Papers 1940, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    7. Koku, Paul Sergius & Akhigbe, Aigbe & Springer, Thomas M., 1997. "The Financial Impact of Boycotts and Threats of Boycott," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 15-20, September.
    8. David P. Baron, 2003. "Private Politics," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 31-66, 03.
    9. Seema Arora & Timothy N. Cason, 1996. "Why Do Firms Volunteer to Exceed Environmental Regulations? Understanding Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(4), pages 413-432.
    10. Robert Innes, 2006. "A Theory of Consumer Boycotts under Symmetric Information and Imperfect Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 355-381, 04.
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