Polarizers or Landscape Groomers? An Empirical Analysis of Party Donations by the 100 Largest German Companies in 1984-2005

Forthcoming in Socio-Economic Review

37 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 26 Nov 2013

Achim Goerres

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science

Martin Höpner

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Abstract

What can donation strategies tell us about corporate political preferences, as seen from the perspective of power resource and varieties of capitalism theories? This article tests six hypotheses within an Olsonian framework for corporate donations to political parties with new data from the 100 largest German firms between 1984 and 2005. The findings reveal that (1) only a minority of firms donate, and donation amounts are surprisingly small given the financial assets of these companies, which suggests the presence of a collective action dilemma with small selective and arguably larger collective benefits; (2) management ties between firms are an important way of making firms overcome the collective action dilemma; (3) firms distribute their donations – if any - mainly on the right side of the political spectrum, particularly if the firms are personally interwoven with other large companies or if they are family owned; (4) however, some firms, particularly those belonging to the automobile sector, donate across the political spectrum.

Keywords: companies, varieties of capitalism, political parties, donations, Germany, pwer resource theory

Suggested Citation

Goerres, Achim and Höpner, Martin, Polarizers or Landscape Groomers? An Empirical Analysis of Party Donations by the 100 Largest German Companies in 1984-2005. Forthcoming in Socio-Economic Review. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1899985

Achim Goerres (Contact Author)

University of Duisburg-Essen - Institute of Political Science ( email )

Lotharstrasse 65
Duisburg, D-47057
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.achimgoerres.de

Martin Höpner

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies ( email )

Paulstr. 3
50676 Koln
Germany

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