Into the Dark: Shifts in Corporate Political Activity after Social Movement Challenges

49 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2016  

Mary-Hunter McDonnell

The Wharton School - The University of Pennsylvania

Timothy Werner

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business

Date Written: December 8, 2016

Abstract

Using a unique database on social movement boycotts of corporations, we examine how firms alter their political activities in the wake of a reputational threat. We show that boycotts lead to significant reductions in the amount of targets’ political action committee campaign contributions and simultaneous increases in targets’ CEOs’ personal campaign contributions, as well as targets’ lobbying expenditures. We argue that these patterns represent a shift toward more covert forms of political engagement that present new problems for activists and shareholders seeking to monitor corporate political activity.

Keywords: nonmarket strategy, corporate political activity, social movements, disclosure, campaign contributions, lobbying

Suggested Citation

McDonnell, Mary-Hunter and Werner, Timothy, Into the Dark: Shifts in Corporate Political Activity after Social Movement Challenges (December 8, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2882949

Mary-Hunter McDonnell (Contact Author)

The Wharton School - The University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Timothy Werner

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business ( email )

United States
5122326844 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://timothywerner.com

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