Do CEOs Affect Employee Political Choices?

Do CEOs affect political choices of their employees? Using a large sample of U.S. firms, we find evidence that they do. First, we document that employees donate significantly more money to CEO-supported political candidates than to otherwise similar candidates not supported by the CEO. In 2012, for example, Barack Obama raised three times more money from employees of firms whose CEOs donated to him than from employees of firms whose CEOs donated to Mitt Romney. We find similar effects for all federal elections (House, Senate, and President). Second, we find that employees located in congressional districts where CEOs support political candidates are more likely to vote in elections, suggesting that CEOs can affect not only their employees’ campaign contributions but also voter turnout.

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