Collective Action, Pluralism, and the Legitimacy Tariff: Corporate Activity or Inactivity in Politics

Neil James Mitchell, W. L. Hansen, J. Drope

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the fact that domestic and foreign corporations, along with trade associations, are some of the most politically active groups in the United States, earlier research has identified a substantial number of firms that are politically inactive. Using fresh data collected from the 2000 election cycle for the Fortune 1000 and the Forbes top foreign investors, we examine business soft money, lobbying expenditures, as well as PAC contributions, in exploring economic, institutional, and political factors that might explain the choice of political activity or inactivity This article goes beyond earlier research in several ways. Previous research has focused on PAC contributions rather than a fuller range of activities, and it has not included association political activity in the analysis of firm-level behavior. Also, the influence of other actors in the political system, notably environmental and citizen groups, has not been systematically examined. Theoretically, these data allow us to examine the countervailing power thesis, the institutionalists' arguments about the nature of foreign business behavior, and the unexplored collective action questions that business associational activity poses-are firm and associational activities complements or substitutes?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages8
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2004


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