Interlocking Directorates and Transnational Corporate Political Unity

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 413
Oral Presentation
Joshua MURRAY , Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
The extent of a dominant transnational capitalist class hinges on whether members of the global business community tend to act in a unified manner. Research on corporate political behavior within a national context indicates that formalized ties in the business community, such as those formed by interlocking boards of directors, function to facilitate unified political behavior by the corporate elite. However, due to differing national identities and class interests within the global business community, the effect of transnational interlocks on political unity is unclear.

            Combining data on political contributions to U.S. candidates with information on board of director interlocks among the 500 largest corporations in the world between 2000 and 2006, I test the effect of transnational interlocks on business cohesion. I find that the more connected two firms are through the transnational interlock network, the more unified their political donation patterns are. In addition, I find evidence that suggests that a transnational class-wide rationality is becoming more prevalent in the interlock network, to the point that the group G500 firms that are connected to each other through the transnational interlock network exhibit political unity comparable to that of the U.S. capitalist class.