The politics of CEOs

We find that more than 57% of CEOs are Republicans [defined by 2/3 or more campaign contributions to Republicans], 19% are Democrats…and the rest are Neutral [do not contribute 2/3 of their campaign spending to either of the two major parties].  Therefore, Republican CEOs are more than three times as Democratic CEOs.  Furthermore, Republican CEOs lead companies with almost twice the asset value of companies led by Democratic CEOs.

That is from 2000-2017, across the S&P 1500.  And:

We show that the median CEO directs 75% of his or her total contributions to Republicans.


We find that companies led by Republican CEOs are less transparent to their investors on whether how, and how much they spend on politics.

The most Republican-leaning sectors are energy (89.1%), manufacturing, and chemicals.  Business equipment and telecoms are the least-leaning R to D sectors for their CEOs, though still Republican by clear margins.  In the Northeast and West the number of Democratic CEOS has almost caught up to the Republicans.  As for female CEOs, they lean Republican 34.3% to Democratic 32.3%, a small margin but still more Republican donors.

That is all from a new paper The Politics of CEOs, by Alma Cohen, Moshe Hazan, Roberto Tallarita, and David Weiss, NBER link here.


Curious how this would look if they adjusted for age, race, income and education level. That is, do CEOs skew Republican because they're CEOs, or because they're disproportionately old white dudes.

Reading really isn't that hard: "As for female CEOs, they lean Republican 34.3% to Democratic 32.3%, a small margin but still more Republican donors."

It's harder than skimming!

Also, that's one split (gender); I'm looking for more of a regression analysis and comparison to the non-CEO population.

The WSJ ran a piece about how the old-fashioned (but biggest lobbyist in DC) "Chamber of Commerce" group, a clear "crony capitalism" org, was in Trump's disfavored list, since Trump sensed they were against him in the primaries. Yet I noticed that they still gained members over the last cycle, just not as many (in terms of rate of growth) as many years ago.

Crony capitalism, deficit spending, and rent seeking, the Republican model, is alive and well. That said, I'll probably vote for Trump anyway, much as I abhor him, since I want to preserve the $10M limit on inheritances. We rich have to stick together. It's the 1% vs the rest.

The increased estate tax exemption (now at about $11.4 million with CPI adjustments) sunsets automatically in 2026 and reverts back to the old $5 million exemption (plus CPI adjustments) unless Congress votes to extend the increase and the president approves it. In other words, Trump will have nothing to do with it - unless he is allowed to run for a third term. In the meantime, Congress cannot reduce the exemption without both the House and Senate agreeing and the president approving.

I should point out to our friend Ray that he can double the exemption amount by getting married. No, he doesn't have to leave the property outright to his much younger wife, he can leave it in trust with lots of strings attached. Moreover, if Ray's estate exceeds double the the exemption amount, he can effectively avoid the tax on the excess by marrying the much younger woman (it's a time value of money thing).

Exactly, weigh it on the two hands, the value of government, or the money in your pocket.

MR is all about the money, and that's why I love it. No virtue signalling here.

hey COWEN! good news for you
AEA hold a symposium about Fiscal Policy. Professor Ramey, Yared and Alesina attended Guess what?
They all denied a traditional keynesian idea about fiscal stimulus
Multiplier seems to be small even in ZLB and Spending cut no harm
It's gonna be interesting to show this to Paul Krugman Revival of Keynesianism seems so far GoodBye!

This means the R team should want less big business. Replace some corporate bureaucrats with outright company bosses.

More seriously it would be interesting to see that political split broken down into CEOs who are owners/founders vs. CEOs who a primarily employees.

I suspect that this is the explanation for:

"We find that companies led by Republican CEOs are less transparent to their investors on whet,er how, and how much they spend on politics."

If Republican CEOs are predominantly owners, they have less reasons to be "transparent" to the investor (about politics or anything), because they are less dependent on investors.

I wonder if they are avoiding a backlash from the intolerant left.

Exactly this.

Interesting how different these numbers are from corporate donations which tend to skew more the way businesses expect their consumer and employee profile to, but adjusted for a bit more avoidance on the party that generates a stronger negative reaction (Republicans).

Corporate donations more about corporate image, and CEO individual donations much more about senior management preferences?

I did a study of the Top 50 political donors of 2018 by ethnicity:

It turns out that Rep. Ilhan Omar was more or less right.

+1, informative

By trial and error, we see what MR is really for.

Sure go with some kind of vague ad hominem attack. I suppose it's better than your average comment.

What? I'm completely on board. The Jewish question is at the heart of why Democrats hate America.

"We find that more than 57% of CEOs are Republicans "

Yes. But they are all cuckservatives. Trembling at the altar of woke capital.

It's cheaper and more effective and easier to find a Republican legislator to give a PAC contribution to get what you want than it is to get a Democratic legislator to do it.

Markets work.

You conclusion was correct, but the top 10 givers' $$ on opensecret goes 2.5x more to the Dems.

Can't find it in OpenSecrets. How about a link. What I see is different based on corporate and other sponsor.

Post your link.

No ID? If that doesn't take you there search 'Top Organization Contributors'

See my response below with the link to aggregate data and not an artificial cutoff.

TMC, I can now see why you stopped at the top 10 and why you are a misleading and motivated person.

So, instead of the 2.5x claim you made (Dems/Republican), if you go to the aggregate data for the top 100 or top 1% of contributors, you get a different story.

Not 2.5x as you misleadingly claimed.

All individual contributions: 53 liberal' 43% conservative.

No wonder you didn't post the link, and why you artificially limited your selection.

Here is the link:

Look at link above. I didn't try 100 because the list goes to 51. Top 10 is a pretty normal cut off, and I didn't try any others to cherry pick. I'm sure there's about a thousand variations of the data to paint any picture you want.

You are painting the picture you want, and the other guy is painting his. To what end?

The truth is the what end.

Don't let people get away with distortion. Protect the truth. Challenge them when they make a false statement. Challenge them to show their sources.

I showed you my source, and I wasn't try to paint a picture. I queried opensecrets and that was the first result. Mine had 51 records and yours had far more. Both refuted your first comment that implied Rep get bought off more often.

I did all 51 - ratio for $$ is 2.34 -1

The aggregate numbers are posted in the link so check the link showing aggregates. Am away from my desk and I will copy them for all to see but you can see for yourself by going to the link.

Category Donor Count Total Liberal Conservative % of Total Raised %Donors
Orgs + Indivs Combined 128,260 $1,432,706,350 $752,963,83
(52.6%) $621,403,727
(43.4%) 100.0% 100.0%
Top 100 100 * $1,012,125,792 $572,877,78
(56.6%) $401,059,922
(39.6%) 70.6% 0.1%
Top 1 percent 1,283 $1,359,722,442 $715,605,03
(52.6%) $590,022,120
(43.4%) 94.9% 1.0%

So your larger query show Dems spend 1.21 - 1. I guess the huge influence buyers go to the Dems and the lesser even it out more down the line.

Very interesting, and this totally goes against the dominant narrative of a liberal corporate America. The paper also shows an interesting trend where Republican CEOs are declining and neutral CEOs are increasing, though there are still more Republicans than neutrals and Democrats remain stuck in third place around 20%.

I suspect that these numbers reflect the party affiliation of members of Congress influential to particular industries at various points in time, rather than the personal views of the CEOs. One might also look to the charitable contributions of these companies as a more public indication of the political audience that they're cultivating.

There are other forms of contributions, too, going un-measured. Netflix was the biggest beneficiary of the Obama administration's net neutrality policy, and it gave the Obamas a gigantic production contract as soon as he left office.

Yet another case of a study with political implications. What's the point? Even if it's correct so far as it goes, ideologues will find a way to deny its validity. It's not hard given the assumptions and complexity of many economic papers. And who really cares? Ideologues do, but they're beyond any interest in objectivity, so don't bother wasting time and resources.

"Therefore, Republican CEOs are more than three times as Democratic CEOs." - ERROR: Sentence does not parse.

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