Big Business Owners in Politics
This paper investigates a little studied but common mechanism that firms use to obtain state favors: business owners themselves seeking election to top office. Using Thailand as a research setting, we find that the more business owners rely on government concessions or the wealthier they are, the more likely they are to run for top office. Once in power, the market valuation of their firms increases dramatically. Surprisingly, the political power does not influence the financing strategies of their firms. Instead, business owners in top office use their policy-decision powers to implement regulations and public policies favorable to their firms. Such policies hinder not only domestic competitors but also foreign investors. As a result, these politically connected firms are able to capture more market share.
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