DP10916 Institutional Investors and Corporate Political Activism

Author(s): Rui Albuquerque, Zicheng Lei, Jörg Rocholl, Chendi Zhang
Publication Date: November 2015
Keyword(s): Citizens United, Corporate Governance, Institutional Investors, Political Activism
JEL(s): G23, G30
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10916

The landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission asserts for the first time that corporations benefit from First Amendment protection regarding freedom of speech in the form of independent political expenditures, thus creating a new avenue for political activism. This paper studies how corporations adjusted their political activism in response to this ruling. The paper presents evidence consistent with the hypothesis that institutional investors have a preference for not using the new avenue for political activism, a preference not shared by other investors.