Ben Graham is an assistant professor at USC’s School of International Relations. Ben discussed his paper, Network Ties and the Political Strategies of Firms, co-written with Cesi Cruz.
Abstract: Social ties are critical to firms’ ability to achieve influence over government policy, and it is widely accepted that better-connected firms achieve more influence. However, it is little understood how different types of ties affect different types of political action. We develop new theory that contrasts the effects of horizontal ties to peer firms and vertical ties to politicians. Using a new survey of foreign-owned firms operating in the Philippines, we demonstrate that horizontal ties between peer firms play an important role in firms’ efforts to influence policy at the national level. Vertical ties to politicians are also valuable, though primarily at the local level.