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Do CEOs Affect Employees' Political Choices?

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We analyze how the political preferences of CEOs affect their employees’ campaign contributions and electoral choices. We find that employees donate almost three times more money to CEO -supported political candidates than to candidates not supported by the CEO . This relation also holds around CEO departures, including plausibly exogenous departures due to retirement or death. CEO influence is strongest in firms that explicitly advocate for political candidates and firms with politically connected CEOs. We also find evidence that CEO influence increases political disagreement among members of the same household, which may be welfare-decreasing. Finally, employees are more likely to vote in elections in those congressional districts where CEOs are more politically active. Overall, our results suggest that CEOs are a political force.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Finance Workshop Series series.

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