The Politics of Government Investment
54 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2009 Last revised: 15 Sep 2013
Date Written: November 2011
This paper investigates the relation between corporate political connections and government investment. We study various forms of political influence, ranging from passive connections between firms and politicians, such as those based on politicians’ voting districts, to active forms, such as lobbying, campaign contributions, and employment of connected directors. Using hand-collected data on firm applications for TARP funds, we find that politically connected firms are more likely to be funded, controlling for other characteristics. Yet investments in politically connected firms underperform those in unconnected firms. Overall, we show that connections between firms and regulators are associated with distortions in investment efficiency.
Keywords: Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP, political connections, lobbying, contributions
JEL Classification: D72, G01, G21, G28
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