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Campaign Contributions over CEOs’ Careers

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Author Info

  • Adam R. Fremeth

    ()
    (Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, London, ON)

  • Brian Kelleher Richter

    ()
    (Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario)

  • Brandon Schaufele

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)

Abstract

Individuals dominate money in politics, accounting for over 90% of campaign contributions, but studies of individuals’ giving are scarce. We show that individuals increase their personal contributions dramatically when they assume leadership roles at organizations such as labor unions, non-profits, and firms. Using a newly constructed dataset that focuses on personal contributions, we exploit variation in the leadership status of all 2,198 individuals who were S&P 500 CEOs at any point between 1991 and 2008 to identify a $4,000 jump in personal political giving when individuals become CEOs. Despite giving more money to more candidates, more political action committees (PACs), and more parties, active CEOs’ partisan orientations remain largely unchanged. Falsification tests of an underlying identification assumption demonstrate that these patterns hold whether an individual is promoted to CEO internally or appointed externally. While some fraction of CEOs’ contributions can be attributed to long-standing preferences, willingness, and ability to contribute, the striking change in behavior we identify cannot be explained by these factors alone.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Ottawa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1203E.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1203e

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Keywords: Campaign Contributions; CEOs; Leaders; Personnel Economics; PACs;

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  1. Chappell, Henry W, Jr, 1982. "Campaign Contributions and Congressional Voting: A Simultaneous Probit-Tobit Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 77-83, February.
  2. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Incentives in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 4190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Eric Guthey & Brad Jackson, 2005. "CEO Portraits and the Authenticity Paradox," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(5), pages 1057-1082, 07.
  4. Milyo Jeffrey & Primo David & Groseclose Timothy, 2000. "Corporate PAC Campaign Contributions in Perspective," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-15, April.
  5. Silberman, Jonathan I & Durden, Garey C, 1976. "Determining Legislative Preferences on the Minimum Wage: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 317-29, April.
  6. Joulfaian, David & Marlow, Michael L, 1991. " Incentives and Political Contributions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 351-55, March.
  7. Ovtchinnikov, Alexei V. & Pantaleoni, Eva, 2012. "Individual political contributions and firm performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 367-392.
  8. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2011. "The ABCs of charitable solicitation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 363-371.
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