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Targeting Corporate Political Strategy: Theory and Evidence from the U.S. Accounting Industry


  • Vanden Bergh Richard G

    (University of Vermont)

  • Holburn Guy L.F.

    (University of Western Ontario)


By analyzing the interaction between a business firm and multiple government institutions (including a regulatory agency, an executive and a bicameral legislature), we develop predictions about how firms target their political strategies at different branches of government when seeking more favorable public policies. The core of our argument is that firms will target their resources at the institution that is 'pivotal' in the policy-making process. We develop a simple framework, drawing on the political science literature, which identifies pivotal institutions in different types of political environments. We find empirical support for our thesis in an analysis of how U.S. accounting firms shifted their political campaign contributions between the House and Senate in response to the threat of new regulations governing auditor independence during the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Vanden Bergh Richard G & Holburn Guy L.F., 2007. "Targeting Corporate Political Strategy: Theory and Evidence from the U.S. Accounting Industry," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 1-33, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:9:y:2007:i:2:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:83:y:1989:i:04:p:1181-1206_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2002. "Lobbying Legislatures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 919-948, August.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:03:p:611-621_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Austen-Smith, David, 1998. "Allocating Access for Information and Contributions," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 277-303, October.
    5. Bennedsen, Morten & Feldmann, Sven E., 2006. "Informational lobbying and political contributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 631-656, May.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:88:y:1994:i:01:p:33-47_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:02:p:303-315_20 is not listed on IDEAS
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