Political Connections and Preferential Access to Finance: The Role of Campaign Contributions

61 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2007

See all articles by Stijn Claessens

Stijn Claessens

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Erik Feyen

World Bank - Finance & Markets Global Practice; Ahead Analytics Inc

Luc Laeven

European Central Bank (ECB); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Using novel indicators of political connections constructed from campaign contribution data, we show that Brazilian firms that provided contributions to (elected) federal deputies experienced higher stock returns around the 1998 and 2002 elections. This suggests contributions help shape policy on a firm-specific rather than ideological basis. Using a firm fixed effects framework to mitigate the risk that unobserved firm characteristics distort the results, we find that contributing firms substantially increased their bank leverage relative to a control group after each election, indicating that access to bank finance is an important channel through which political connections operate. We estimate the economic costs of these political connections over the two election cycles to be at least 0.2% of GDP per annum.

Keywords: Campaign Contributions, Elections, Corruption, Preferential Lending

JEL Classification: D7, G1, G2, G3, P48

Suggested Citation

Claessens, Stijn and Feyen, Erik H. B. and Laeven, Luc A., Political Connections and Preferential Access to Finance: The Role of Campaign Contributions. Journal of Financial Economics, Vol. 88, No. 3, AFA 2008 New Orleans Meetings Paper, ECGI - Finance Working Paper No. 166/2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=945196

Stijn Claessens (Contact Author)

Bank for International Settlements (BIS) ( email )

Centralbahnplatz 2
CH-4002 Basel

Erik H. B. Feyen

World Bank - Finance & Markets Global Practice ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
+1 (202) 458 2038 (Phone)
+1 (202) 522 3184 (Fax)

Ahead Analytics Inc ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.aheadanalytics.com

Luc A. Laeven

European Central Bank (ECB) ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 22
Frankfurt am Main, 60314

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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