Big Business Owners in Politics

Posted: 1 Jun 2009 Last revised: 19 May 2021

See all articles by Pramuan Bunkanwanicha

Pramuan Bunkanwanicha

ESCP Business School

Yupana Wiwattanakantang

National University of Singapore - Department of Finance ; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: May 20, 2008


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 offices 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.

Keywords: Political Connection, Corporate Governance, Family Firm, Thailand

JEL Classification: G15, G38, K23, P48

Suggested Citation

Bunkanwanicha, Pramuan and Wiwattanakantang, Yupana, Big Business Owners in Politics (May 20, 2008). The Review of Financial Studies, 2008, Vol. 22, Issue 6, pp. 2133-2168., Available at SSRN: or

Pramuan Bunkanwanicha (Contact Author)

ESCP Business School ( email )

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Paris, 75011

Yupana Wiwattanakantang

National University of Singapore - Department of Finance ( email )

Business School
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Singapore, 117592
65-6516-1912 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

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